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Londoners urged to give up 'capital punishment'

LONDON - A new advertising campaign will tell Londoners they should swap crowded tubes and over-priced housing for 'Cold Feet' and a house instead of a flat.

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The ads will promote the economic advantages and convenience of living in the North and attempt to counter the prejudices of southerners who think that the North of England is a cultural wasteland.

It builds on successes such as the TV drama 'Cold Feet' and the Commonwealth Games, held in Manchester earlier this year and turns the old "it's grim up north" saying on its head with a message that tells Londoners it's a lot grimmer down south.

The ads will appear in newspapers, taxis and hotels while the Confederation of British Industry holds its annual conference in Manchester for the first time this week. Other ads will point out facts such as it costs £50 a week more for childcare in London and the commuting time is three hours a day.

In a report, Peter Mearns, marketing director of the Northwest Development Agency, said: "The ads may upset some Londoners, but they, and their bosses, should ask themselves the very simple question -- is it really necessary to put up with the cost and hassle of living in London, when there are excellent options elsewhere?"

There is a growing movement of support for the North, with a recent article in Prospect magazine calling for the end of London's role as the capital city and the seat of parliament, which should be moved to a new town in Yorkshire to be called Elizabetha.

While that may be some time away, Marks & Spencer is moving some of its operations to offices in Manchester in a cost-cutting move, and Coutt's, banker for the Queen and the Beckhams, is to open an office in Liverpool.

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