Rewind back to the beginning of the year and January was lauded as the start of a new decade, which would provide businesses with renewed optimism.
But the realities of 2020 have far from delivered for London. While it has brought forward acceleration in technological adoption, it has also been one of the most difficult years for business in modern times and this has been reflected in the findings of the 2020 London Business Survey (LBS).
In partnership with Travers Smith and University College London (UCL), this year’s LBS will help uncover business sentiment across the capital, the policy priorities required to help navigate the continued pandemic and begin recovery, and the necessary steps needed to build back better, creating a more inclusive and equal London.
Providing recommendations for both national and local government, as well as practical steps for businesses to help London recover equitably and inclusively, the LBS 2020 is split into two parts:
- Part 1 (from page 4): business insights and government recommendations to navigate the immediate challenges facing the capital, including coronavirus and the end of the UK’s transition period with the EU. Alongside, the first steps towards recovery and ensuring the capital remains internationally competitive.
- Part 2 (from page 15): the ways in which both business and national and local government can place fairness at the heart of London’s recovery and reduce inequality across the capital. Notably looking at workforce diversity and inclusion, and partnerships between government and business in key drivers of inequality, such as education, health (wellbeing), housing and employment.
Highlights from the LBS
- 8 out of 10 (80%) London business leaders say the coronavirus pandemic has negatively impacted their output, with a third (34%) not expecting this to return within the next 12 months. This figure rises to 75% for the arts, entertainment, and recreation sector
- Securing a comprehensive trade deal with the EU, which includes provisions for the services sector, is a top priority to enable London to recover from coronavirus and remain internationally competitive for 72% of London’s business leaders
- To build back better, London’s business leaders believe there should be a focus on improving internal diversity and inclusion, increasing engagement and partnerships between government, business and stakeholders such as educators, charities and community groups. Government and business should utilise data to assess and monitor progress in addressing inequality and create informed targets.
Key government priorities to benefit business
- EU trade deal: Secure a deal with the EU which supports the UK’s international competitiveness, including an EU adequacy decision and scope for further development, such as cross-border services trade
- Testing: Ensure a prompt and timely pre-departure testing system, significantly ahead of the 2021 summer travel season and clarity on businesses remit and responsibilities in regard to testing, both in terms of the workforce and their wider sector and/or supply chain.
- Business rates: Ensure clarity within the business rates system (following the Spending Review), as to the situation for all businesses paying business rates from April 2021. Explore opportunities to provide relief for certain businesses impacted by coronavirus and which previously did not qualify for rates holidays
- Building back better: Explore the benefits of a London Disability Employment Taskforce. Ensure and promote parity of esteem across educational routes and attainment. Assess data through an intersectional lens to create inclusive policies and programmes. Assess the performance of existing initiatives at borough and regional level, sharing guidance on identified successes. Explore an equal partnership between government and the business community to tackle inequality in a range of forms. Use the guiding principles of having agreement and clarity, long-term strategies, guidance frameworks and a localised approach to ensure successful partnerships.