London’s businesses need affordable homes to retain best staff


Building more quality and affordable homes and improving transport infrastructure should be the top spending priorities for the capital’s next Mayor, a survey of London’s big businesses has found. The Confederation of British Industry/CBRE London Business Survey asked leaders of London’s major businesses their views on key issues for the capital, particularly factors affecting their ability to retain the best employees. It found housing costs and availability are having a significant negative impact on companies’ ability to recruit and are causing some employees to abandon their jobs and the capital.

More than three quarters of survey respondents said improving the capital’s transport infrastructure was the number one issue the new Mayor of London must get down to tackling when they enter City Hall next May. Nearly two thirds (59%) said building more quality and affordable housing was vital, while nearly half (41%) said more effective and strategic planning decisions needed to be taken.

Other survey findings include:

  • 57% of respondents cited housing costs and availability as negatively affecting their ability to recruit entry level staff, 45% said it was an issue for recruiting mid-level managerial staff, and 24% said it was an issue for recruiting staff at a senior level
  • 60% provide or plan to provide transport incentives, eg, season ticket loan, for employees, while 12% have implemented or plan to implement housing incentives, such as subsidized mortgage or rental deposit loans
  • 29% said their employees are actually having to leave their jobs and move because housing costs are too high
  • 76% do not believe the target of building 42,000 new homes a year, set out in the London housing strategy, will be met. When asked why, 63% attribute it to a lack of funding for affordable housing, while 55% say there is a lack of available land to build homes
  • 80% are pessimistic about affordability of the housing market in the next one to three years
  • Improving London’s congested roads is the top infrastructure priority for 56% of respondents
  • To boost infrastructure investment, firms favour a mix of measures, from a streamlined planning system to speed up decision making (74%) to business rate reform (64%).

Lucy Haynes, CBI London director, said: “From day one at City Hall, the next Mayor must take meaningful steps to improve transport links and boost the systemic lack of affordable housing. Failing to do so will see talented, skilled workers overlooking the capital for other cities – nationally and internationally, to live and work – hampering the success of London’s businesses.”

The London Business Survey is available here.

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