Improving the capital’s infrastructure – through Crossrail 2, a new runway at Heathrow and East London river crossings – is key to the city’s future success and ability to compete, according to the latest CBI/CBRE London Business Survey.
Over eight in ten (84%) of London’s companies see Crossrail 2 as being central to the capital’s successful expansion. Meanwhile, a similar number of firms (80%) think sticking to the Government’s current timetables for building Heathrow’s third runway is vital to London’s attractiveness as a place to invest. As the city continues to expand eastwards, businesses recognise the importance of developing the right infrastructure to support growth in the area, especially in the Docklands. Four fifths of firms (84%) think that river crossings in East London are essential for boosting the city’s growth.
Despite the significant political uncertainty seen in 2016, London firms’ optimism has rebounded since the last London Business Survey, conducted just after the EU Referendum. A fifth of companies (19%) feel more positive about the economy over the next six months (compared to 4% in the last Survey). Firms are also more optimistic about their own businesses over the next half year, with over a quarter (26%) feeling positive (compared to 8% in the last Survey).
Topping the list of the capital’s business concerns is uncertainty over the UK’s role in Europe, with nearly three quarters (71%) of firms concerned about the effect of Brexit. Following Sterling’s sharp depreciation, price increases and inflation are also a source of unease (60%), marking the highest this issue has ranked since the Survey began in 2008.
Nevertheless, London’s businesses have remained resilient, with more than half (54%) maintaining their current investment plans – and over a quarter (26%) actually planning to boost them – and nearly three in five (58%) believing Brexit has not impacted their ability to hire.