LCCI comment on removal of covid restrictions and beyond

Thursday 3 June 2021

Asked about whether working from home guidance should be removed by the government on June 21, and how government should encourage employees back to city centre offices, Richard Burge, Chief Executive of London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said:

“It’s for the government and scientific advisers, not business, to judge when it’s most appropriate on public health grounds for the working from home guidance to come to an end.  If the data shows that’s June 21 then great.  If it doesn’t, then I’m sure business will continue to play its part until the time is right.

“Once the guidance is lifted then it’s the place of the government to make sure the sufficient infrastructure is in place, rather than trying to dictate ways of working, or pace of return, to businesses. 

"The launch of flexible rail fares, for example, is a welcome way of encouraging movement back into city centres and supporting the increasing emergence of a hybrid economy.  As ways or working become established, the government must review the effectiveness of what is being offered.

“Whilst some days will be quieter in central London than pre-pandemic due to increased hybrid working, I’m confident the streets will be busy with commuters.  International tourism however, and business travel, will remain depressed for some time and that will have a big impact on London business.  Both national and London government must work hard to restore confidence in the capital’s reputation globally and ensure that our border management is optimum.

“Throughout the pandemic, London has suffered some of the highest unemployment and furlough levels in the country.  As restrictions ease and with a scaling down of furlough, it is vital that government focus is firmly on suitability and availability of skills provision, to support Londoners back into work.”