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How the City became the UK’s powerhouse

From the ‘big bang’ to Brexit, the financial sector has survived change and crisis to establish itself as a key force in Britain’s economy

As the UK unwittingly approached the 2007 global banking crisis, London’s financial sector – known simply as the City, or the Square Mile – was reaching the height of its powers. One in every £12 of British economic output was generated by financial services, and bankers were labelled masters of the universe.

The crash punctured those illusions, and rebalanced the UK economy slightly (albeit at painful cost): output from financial services and insurance slipped from 8.3% of 2007 UK GDP before banks were bailed out to 6.3% in 2019, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

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