Capital’s firms bounce back from Brexit effect

Improving the capital’s infrastructure – through Crossrail 2, a new runway at Heathrow and East London river crossings – is key to the city’s future success and ability to compete, according to the latest CBI/CBRE London Business Survey.

Over eight in ten (84%) of London’s companies see Crossrail 2 as being central to the capital’s successful expansion. Meanwhile, a similar number of firms (80%) think sticking to the Government’s current timetables for building Heathrow’s third runway is vital to London’s attractiveness as a place to invest. As the city continues to expand eastwards, businesses recognise the importance of developing the right infrastructure to support growth in the area, especially in the Docklands. Four fifths of firms (84%) think that river crossings in East London are essential for boosting the city’s growth.

Despite the significant political uncertainty seen in 2016, London firms’ optimism has rebounded since the last London Business Survey, conducted just after the EU Referendum. A fifth of companies (19%) feel more positive about the economy over the next six months (compared to 4% in the last Survey). Firms are also more optimistic about their own businesses over the next half year, with over a quarter (26%) feeling positive (compared to 8% in the last Survey).


As one of the world’s few truly global cities, London’s star continues to dazzle at the start of 2017.

The capital’s businesses want to keep it that way, and recognise the importance of driving the city’s infrastructure forward to do so. By ploughing ahead with Crossrail 2, a new runway at Heathrow and making better use of the River Thames, London can keep ahead of the curve, and make the city an even more attractive place in which to invest, live and work for decades to come.

While the uncertainty about the UK’s future relationship with Europe is weighing on minds in the City, it’s good to see firms beginning to bounce back from the Brexit effect, and having a more positive view of the economy than immediately after the vote to leave the EU.

London’s voice must continue to be heard to make a success of Brexit and ensure the future prosperity of our capital, and the whole of the UK. The CBI will support the Government to secure the best possible outcome for the country.
Eddie Curzon, CBI London Director
Transport infrastructure is crucial for the viability of office schemes in London. We expect schemes located along the new Elizabeth Line (Crossrail) to be amongst the best performing in London. The survey also reinforces our view that Crossrail 2 will unlock the potential along its planned south west to north east route.

To the east of Tower Bridge there is only one bridge for 20 miles, the Dartford Crossing. To the west there are no fewer than 17. As the survey indicates, plans to redress this imbalance will be welcomed by businesses and help to unlock London’s growth potential.
Adam J. Hetherington, CBRE Managing Director, London

Topping the list of the capital’s business concerns is uncertainty over the UK’s role in Europe, with nearly three quarters (71%) of firms concerned about the effect of Brexit. Following Sterling’s sharp depreciation, price increases and inflation are also a source of unease (60%), marking the highest this issue has ranked since the Survey began in 2008.

Nevertheless, London’s businesses have remained resilient, with more than half (54%) maintaining their current investment plans – and over a quarter (26%) actually planning to boost them – and nearly three in five (58%) believing Brexit has not impacted their ability to hire.