Wednesday 21 July 2021 2:23 pm

NatWest chairman warns City will never return to pre-Covid state

The chairman of one of the UK’s largest banks and former director of the London School of Economics has warned that the City will never return to its pre-Covid state.

Sir Howard Davies, chairman of NatWest, said the days of thousands of workers flowing into the City for 8am – 6pm working days “are gone” in an interview with Bloomberg.

Read more: One in ten Londoners do not plan to ever commute again after pandemic

Davies, who was also the deputy governor of the Bank of England, thinks that footfall in Central London will be permanently lower than before the pandemic as workers reject coming into the office five days a week.

The warning comes after the UK government ended guidance to work from home for all workers in England on Monday.

Low occupancy levels would hit businesses – particularly leisure and hospitality firms – in the Square Mile hard as they heavily rely on income from office workers.

Davies said he expects a large proportion of workers in NatWest’s trading division to come into the office more regularly compared to other staff at the bank.

Read more: Exclusive: London workers flood back to the office ahead of freedom day

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