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Businesses remain committed to capital through recession – BBC/London First poll results

A BBC/London First poll of business leaders has revealed that company bosses expect London to emerge from the recession in at least as strong a position as it entered it.

67 senior directors among London’s biggest companies responded to the BBC/London First poll. A majority of company bosses expect recovery to be underway by the beginning of 2010. Although more job losses are likely during 2009, a significant minority expect to recruit more staff this year in the capital.

Baroness Jo Valentine, London First Chief Executive, said:

“Our poll assesses the views of some of the capital’s biggest employers. Their confidence in London’s ability to weather the recession and to emerge with its position as the best city in the world in which to do business strengthened is very encouraging; especially to Londoners working hard through the credit crunch.

“We’re not out of the woods yet though. London’s recovery and future success depends on Government and the Mayor sticking to their commitments on building Crossrail and improving the Tube. And it is put at risk by growing uncertainty about tax stability – there is no appetite for more unpleasant shocks like the 50p higher tax rate, pension tax hikes or last year’s fiasco on taxation of non-domiciles.”

Other highlight results from the BBC/London First poll of senior business leaders include:

  • The causes of the financial crisis were mainly complex financial products poorly understood by banks’ management and regulators.
  • London’s propects as a financial centre are thought likely to stay the same through the next decade by the majority of respondents, with a signifiant minority expecting them to improve.
  • Around half of those questioned expect to cut jobs in the next few months, with the remainder expecting no net change or some recruitment.
  • No respondent expected his/her organisation to relocate away from London.
  • The 50p rate of tax was criticised as adding to costs and making it more difficult to attract and retain top global talent. There was little or no support for the Government’s policy response to the recession.
  • The respondents placed progress on Crossrail and Tube improvements at the top of the Mayor’s priorities, followed by his role in talking up London to maintain confidence.
  • The majority considered that we were at or near the bottom of the recession, with over a quarter identifying signs of recovery in their business.
  • Two thirds expressed confidence about the future of their business and of London.
  • Two thirds expect a pick up in the UK economy by the second half of next year.

ENDS

Notes to Editors
London First is a business membership organisation with a mission to make London the best city in the world in which to do business. London First undertakes this by mobilising the experience, expertise and enthusiasm of the private sector to develop practical solutions to the challenges facing London. London First also seeks to persuade central and London government to make the investments that London needs in its infrastructure.

London First delivers its activities with the support of the capital’s major businesses in key sectors such as finance, professional services, property, ICT, creative industries, hospitality and retail. Membership also includes further education colleges and all of London’s universities. London First members represent over a quarter of London’s GDP.

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