Tackling the problems caused by road congestion is a major priority for the capital and will be key to helping to boost productivity– according to a new report issued by KPMG today.
Ahead of the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget, KPMG has launched its inaugural UK regional productivity performance report. The study points out that improving regional infrastructure, particularly transport links and improving skills are vital if the UK is to boost productivity and examines how different regions fare in each of these areas.
Productivity overall plays a key part in the long term economic prosperity of the UK.
The report found that in order to boost productivity in the capital road congestion is critical, and many London rail stations need an overhaul in order to accommodate increasing rail capacity. Intra-London road connectivity also needs improving, where priorities are building a new crossing between Greenwich and Newham (at Gallions Reach), and a new Lower Thames crossing to reduce congestion on the existing Dartford Crossing.
Upgrading the digital infrastructure was also flagged as needing urgent attention including the speed and reliability of the internet and 4G mobile networks. According to 2016 data, London has the worst quality of 4G network in the UK.
The report found that London’s productivity is driven partly by “non-Londoners”, which historically has boosted London’s relative standing. Commuters from outside London have taken advantage of the strong transport links, and HS2 will further increase that. However, London has continued to be a magnet for companies setting up operations in the UK, from innovative technology businesses to European and Global HQs, with a positive impact on the productivity levels. A constant challenge to London employers around the cost and availability of housing for their workers, but the addition of some uncertainty in relation to Brexit will create inevitable pressure points on the availability of foreign workers and the appetite for new foreign investment, which in turn will create new risks to London’s lead position around productivity in the UK.