London businesses urge government to "grasp the nettle" as survey clocks fifth consecutive negative outlook since Brexit vote

Catherine Neilan
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London's Economic Boom Continues
This is the fifth consecutive quarter that businesses have warned of a negative outlook (Source: Getty)

Businesses are urging government to "grasp the nettle" on issues as wideranging as Crossrail 2 and a London-specific shortage occupation list, following yet another quarter of negative sentiment.

Confidence among firms across the capital dropped in the third quarter over all indicators, the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI)'s latest Capital 500 survey today reveals. Outlook fell for the second consecutive quarter, with seven per cent of businesses expecting their overall performance to worsen – down from three per cent in the second quarter.

Expectations of both the London and the UK economy remained negative for the fifth consecutive quarter, having first dropped into negative territory after last summer's referendum.

But while Brexit concerns are weighing heavy on business, LCCI stressed that some solutions lay elsewhere, demanding government urgently address issues such funding for Crossrail 2 and adopting a ‘London Shortage Occupation List’, which it says would enable employers to manage "acute" shortages in specific professions.

Chief executive of LCCI Colin Stanbridge said:“What has been made evident is that businesses are still grappling with the uncertainties caused by turbulence in today’s political and economic environment, including Brexit and rising inflation.

“Action must be taken to boost declining confidence amongst the capital’s business community by strengthening the foundations of London’s economy. Our politicians have an opportunity to now grasp the nettle and take a positive funding decision on Crossrail 2, secure affordable business work space in the forthcoming London Plan Review and agree additional devolutionary policy competencies for the capital.

“Moreover, with a record high number of recruiting companies having difficulties hiring new staff and uncertainty about what the UK’s future immigration system will look like, it would be prudent to provide London with a new, separate Shortage Occupation List (SOL) responsive to its particular needs.”

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