Thursday 12 August 2021 12:01 am

Just 15 per cent of central London workers back in the office, says think tank

Just 15 per cent of central London workers have returned to their place of work, according to new figures from the Centre for Cities think tank.

The new figures for the last week of July showed that central London has the lowest amount of workers who have returned to the office out of any city or town in the UK.

The think tank also recorded that central London’s footfall in the nighttime was still only half of what it was pre-pandemic in the same period.

Overall London footfall is still the lowest compared to pre-Covid times out of any city or town in the country.

Boris Johnson scrapped the working from guidance on on 19 July, however workers have been reluctant to return to the office.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak recently urged younger workers to return to the office or risk being overlooked for promotions in a push to get people back to city centres.

The Centre for Cities’ director of policy and research Paul Swinney said: “A reluctance to head back to the office in our largest and most economically important cities means that people in the so-called ‘sandwich economy’ that caters to city centre office workers are facing an uncertain future as we get ever closer to the end of the furlough scheme in September.”

Many City firms have committed to a hybrid model for the rest of the year, with staff working from home at least a couple days a week.

Recent analysis by the Greater London Authority found London’s central business district “will recover, but the time this takes to happen will limit the economic benefits reaped from agglomeration economies”.

It added that the “effects on the long-term remain very uncertain”.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan earlier this summer launched the Welcome Back London campaign in a bid to get people back onto the Tube and into central London.

This has comprised of a series of adverts and billboards, along with limited time changes to Tube roundels.

A spokesperson for Khan said: “Already, we are seeing weekend visitor numbers improving and City Hall analysis shows that much of London’s economy should bounce back strongly now that Covid restrictions have been lifted.” 

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