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LCCI surveys London businesses' perceptions of levelling up

Wednesday 21 September 2022

London businesses confused and concerned about Government’s levelling up agenda and fear it will ultimately mean levelling down London.

London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has today released the results of a new survey assessing London business’ perceptions of the much touted levelling up agenda. The survey, which is based on polling of 510 London businesses by Savanta ComRes, found that the majority (82%) of respondents had heard of the Government’s levelling up programme, but only a minority of that 82% understood it. The survey showed overwhelmingly that businesses have a lack of knowledge about the levelling up policy itself; only 30% of businesses who had heard of levelling up could explain what the policy was.

The survey also reports concern over levelling up putting London at a disadvantage. A third (32%) of respondents that said they were familiar with levelling up felt that the policy left London at risk of being levelled down. Almost half (48%) of firms surveyed were unable to say whether the policy strikes a good balance between infrastructure and investment in people and skills. It is clear that the Government must engage businesses more effectively in discussions about levelling up.

Since the launch of the Government’s levelling up white paper, far too much political messaging has served to pit London and the Southeast against the rest of the country. Perceptions of unfair imbalances in investment, training, and infrastructure, and opportunity between London and the rest of the UK have invited a politics of us-vs-them. LCCI remains concerned that this zero-sum framing will not only affect London’s prosperity, but the prosperity of the whole of the UK.

This is particularly the case when looking at the domestic supply chain and collaboration between London businesses and other UK-based companies, as London’s network spreads across the entire United Kingdom. The survey found that half of all businesses (50%) would experience difficulties if they were not able to work with other UK based-companies, rising to over two thirds (76%) of businesses with over 250 employees. There was a higher level of concern in service sectors including transport and storage, motor trades and wholesale.

They survey also asked London business what they believed to be the Government’s priority for levelling up the capital over the coming years. Overall, the most popular answer was increasing investment in transport and other critical infrastructure in London (22%), followed closely by funding adult learning (19%), encouraging capital investment (17%) and giving London local government more control over taxes generated in the capital (16%).

Richard Burge, Chief Executive of London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), said:

“Levelling up is an admirable socio-economic goal but it must not happen at the expense of London. The policy will have a far greater chance of succeeding if London is recognised and treated as the economic engine room of ‘Global Britain’, and if the Government takes the views of London businesses into consideration. In speaking to London businesses, we have been struck by the linkages and economic connectivity between London and the rest of the UK. A thriving London is good for the prosperity of the whole country. We need to get back to a collaborative mindset in charting the course of our economic future, not pitting regions against each other. We also need to repair the relationship between Government and businesses with a wholesale reset. As the new Government beds in, we have that opportunity, and both sides need to seize it.”

To read the full report, click here.



London Chamber Press Office

T: +44 (0)20 7203 1897

E: press@londonchamber.co.uk

About LCCI

London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) is the hub of the capital’s business community, connecting, supporting, and championing the interests of over 3,000 London businesses that make up LCCI’s diverse membership. LCCI supports London’s business community by providing a range of services, advocates on behalf of the capital’s business community in the most important forums of policy debate and promotes ‘Global London’ as the best city in the world to do business – whether that is to trade, invest, learn, visit, or find new commercial partners.

LCCI’s International Trade Advisory Service responds to thousands of enquiries from SMEs and large corporations seeking advice on all aspects of EU and wider international trade, and LCCI are the largest UK issuer of trade documentation services and the national guaranteeing authority for ATA Carnets.

The Chamber is the creator behind the bi-monthly London Business Matters magazine and provides flexible co-working and meeting spaces within its offices in the City of London. LCCI also offers expert arbitration and mediation services through The London Chamber of Arbitration and Mediation (LCAM). LCCI’s Capital 500 Quarterly Economic Survey provides expert insight into the mood of the City, and the Chamber also provides backing for the All-Party Parliamentary Group for London as a Global City.

Notes to editors:

Savanta ComRes surveyed a total of 510 London business leaders between 4 and 30 May 2022. All data were weighted to be representative of all London businesses by company size and broad industry sector. Savanta ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Full data tables are available at www.comresglobal.com.