Thursday 13 August 2020 3:26 pm

Sadiq Khan admits empty offices are a 'big problem for central London'

Sadiq Khan has warned for the first time that empty offices in central London are causing a “big problem” for the economy.

The mayor of London admitted that small businesses were struggling with the dramatically reduced footfall as huge numbers of people continue to work from home.

Read more: London calling: Why it’s time to bring life back to our city’s streets

He urged big firms to reconsider decisions to stay away in a dramatic change of tact.

“The key thing I think we need to understand is that if we all stay at home working it’s a big problem for central London,” Khan told LBC.

“Many small businesses rely on your workers going to work, the café bars, the dry cleaners, the shoe repair shops and others.

Read more: The return to work: Here’s when City firms are going back to the office

“When I meet those not just in the culture industry and hospitality, small businesses they are struggling.

“Of course there’s a choice for you to make as a big employer. I love London because of its eco-system. I don’t want a hollowed-out London. In City Hall we have made sure we have got everything ready, we’ve used July and August to make City Hall safe.”

Khan had previously warned against using the London underground and insisted only those who can’t work from home should use it.

Read more: Brits optimistic about returning to work despite safety concerns

However, he has now insisted that City Hall are doing everything “to make sure London is as safe as it can be” to welcome back office and other workers.

“You have seen at TfL the enhanced cleaning regime we are doing, you have seen the testing we are doing, the hard work we’re doing to provide a record number of buses and tubes and other things in the context of a pandemic.”

Currently top City firms plan to bring back just a fraction of their workforce.

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