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London faces social challenges during ‘recovery’

London has rated top of a list of England’s regions for productivity, business growth, in-work training and export income, according to a joint report by the Confederation of British Industry and Lloyds Banking Group.

The study, which considered 20 metrics, also placed the capital top for household incomes and the quality of its schools.

However the Reviving Regions report ranked London bottom when it came to life satisfaction. It suggested social issues like house prices and long commutes played a factor, along with pockets of significant deprivation.

Jordan Cummins, CBI Head of London Policy, said:

“London remains a productive engine for the UK, with higher GVA per hour than any other region. This can be attributed to high education attainment, a large proportion of graduates in the workforce, and good transport links. London also has a high concentration of high growth firms and the highest export intensity in the UK.

“Professional and financial services are a key strength, but London also boasts excellence in creative industries, higher education and research, and property and real estate, while also benefitting from its globally-renowned cultural infrastructure.

“However, London’s success is not shared evenly. Areas of significant deprivation remain, with social divides widening further during the pandemic. And London’s productivity advantage, while still strong, is being whittled away by other regions. All against a backdrop of increased international competition.

“It needs a concerted effort by both public and private sectors to rebuild London’s post-COVID economy, and foster a new era of growth and prosperity. This must include action to tackle skills shortages and boost digital connectivity, prepare the city’s world-leading transport network for net-zero, and increase social mobility.

“By uniting behind this bold ambition, leaders in business and government can future-proof London’s economy to both reinforce its importance on the world stage and ensure its future prosperity is shared more evenly by all corners of the city.”

Ed Thurman, Lloyds Banking Group’s Ambassador for London, said:

“London’s recovery will be important as the UK emerges from the pandemic. However, significant challenges remain – success and its rewards are not evenly spread throughout the capital.

“Alongside great wealth lies great deprivation and both the public and private sectors must work together to ensure no community is excluded.

“The task of providing affordable, high-quality housing is another challenge that all of us must work together to meet. We at Lloyds Banking Group stand ready and willing to play our part.”

The CBI hopes its study can help focus minds in business and government – at all levels, including the newly-elected London mayor.

Anthony Baxter 10th May 2021

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