The latest CBI/CBRE London Business Survey echoes a number of its predecessors as uncertainty over the UK’s future relationship with Europe remains the top issue of concern (66% of respondents) for the sixth consecutive time.
More than a quarter (27%) of firms said that they are planning to move part of their operations abroad, with 5% planning to move their entire operation overseas.
Retaining access to the Customs Union and the Single Market is firms’ top priority (63%) in Brexit negotiations, followed by guaranteeing European citizens’ right to remain (53%), as they are seen as crucial to the capital’s workforce.
On infrastructure, the top priorities for London’s firms are getting on with Crossrail 2 (64%), the third runway at Heathrow (52%) and building more cycle routes (36%), which has moved up the priority list to third place.
To help boost infrastructure investment, over 78% of businesses want a more streamlined planning system and half support devolution of funding to City Hall.
One issue which has reached a survey record high is housing availability and costs, with 66% of the 176 respondents saying that this is having a negative impact on the recruitment of staff. This compares with 57% when this question was last asked in September 2015.
Almost half the employers surveyed (44%) said that they are offering premium wages/retention payments to attract and keep staff.
On a positive note, an increase in optimism among London businesses is reflected in their immediate investment plans with 30% planning to increase their investment — higher than last year’s 17% — and 41% of firms saying they will maintain their immediate investment plans.
The full survey results can be found at https://bit.ly/2HYtiKZ.