London business leaders continue to express negative sentiment about the UK economy, the latest survey from London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has found.
The business organisation has called on the Government to urgently address issues such as securing funding for Crossrail 2 as well as recognising London’s economic importance in any new UK immigration policy through a new ‘London Shortage Occupation List’.
LCCI believes this would enable employers to better respond to acute shortages in specific professions and key sectors throughout the capital.
The Capital 500 Quarterly Economic Survey (Q3) conducted for LCCI by polling agency ComRes also found that more companies were struggling to recruit than since the Capital 500 began three years ago.
Chief Executive of LCCI, Colin Stanbridge said: “What has been made evident is that businesses are still grappling with the uncertainties caused by turbulence in today’s political and economic environment, including Brexit and rising inflation.
“Action must be taken to boost declining confidence amongst the capital’s business community by strengthening the foundations of London’s economy.
Our politicians have an opportunity to now grasp the nettle and take a positive funding decision on Crossrail 2, secure affordable business work space in the forthcoming London Plan Review and agree additional devolutionary policy competencies for the capital.
“Moreover, with a record high number of recruiting companies having difficulties hiring new staff and uncertainty about what the UK’s future immigration system will look like, it would be prudent to provide London with a new, separate Shortage Occupation List (SOL) responsive to its particular needs.”
LCCI makes four key recommendations to ensure London businesses are better equipped for the future.
Recommendation 1: Government should use the Industrial Strategy to support growth by recognising the benefits of greater devolution of policy competencies – including finance, transport and skills – to City Hall.
Recommendation 2: London’s economic importance should be recognised in any new UK immigration policy through provision of a separate Shortage Occupation List (SOL) similar to what Scotland has. This would enable employers to better respond to acute shortages in specific professions and key sectors throughout the capital.
Recommendation 3: The Mayor of London must use the forthcoming review of the London Plan to secure long-term protection of business work space across the capital, including addressing the impact of Permitted Development Rights use – especially in the Central Activities Zone.
Recommendation 4: Sustained investment in transport infrastructure is needed across the UK. In London, a funding solution must be swiftly secured for Crossrail 2 to advance project design and underpin efforts to secure the necessary powers to begin construction.
Key findings from Capital 500 Q3 2017 survey include:
The export sales balance remains positive at +3 per cent, continuing its rise since the first quarter of 2017. The balance for export orders fell by 2 points to +1 per cent following an increase seen in the previous quarter.
Recruitment and training:
Cashflow and investment: