Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has expressed concerns that empty offices in central London are causing a “big problem” for the economy, and admitted that small businesses were struggling with the dramatically reduced footfall as huge numbers of people continue to work from home.
With many small hospitality businesses experiencing difficulties due to lack of footfall mayor Khan urged large companies in particular to reconsider decisions to stay away.
“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.
“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.”
“In City Hall we have made sure we have got everything ready, we’ve used July and August to make City Hall safe.”
He added: “What I would say to other big employers is that we are doing what we can to make sure London is as safe as it can be.
“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.”
Lockdown due to Covid-19 has cost London hospitality a staggering £2.3 billion between the months of March and June according to research from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).
The study says: “Among the more profound impacts of the coronavirus pandemic has been the widespread shift towards homeworking, which has sucked the life out of many central locations.”
“We calculate that the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in £2.3 billion of spending in shops, pubs and eateries near London employment hubs being lost or displaced between March and June, as the city has lagged behind other regions for the number of people returning to workplaces.”