Skilled workers biggest concern post Brexit businesses say

13 October 2016

Skilled workers biggest concern post Brexit businesses say

London business are concerned but not panicking about Brexit - according to a wide reaching new report produced today by London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).

The report: "London Businesses and Brexit: reactions, expectations and requirements" is a result of extensive polling of more than 500 businesses by ComRes and in depth round table discussions

It looked at existing worries surrounding employment, trading and infrastructure which have been thrown into sharp relief by Brexit. LCCI then considers some brave new ways these concerns could be mitigated to ensure London's place as a key world player.

Among the findings were: 

  • 47% of London business leaders believed looser immigration restrictions on workers from outside the EU should be a medium or high priority.
  • 31% consider minimising restrictions on access to labour from the EU as a high priority in the renegotiations that Prime Minister May will soon commence.  
  • 24% of business leaders (excluding sole traders) said the current immigration statues of their EU employees is causing uncertainty.
  • 44% of business believed that making decisions on major infrastructure such as a new airport runway was very important for the London economy.
  • 56% of London business leaders said that until formal talks to leave the EU start, increased devolution of tax and spending powers to London would be important for the London economy.

One round table participant said: "We are very reliant on being able to attract and hang onto some of the best talent in Europe. It has been easy for them to come here and enjoy it and now they are concerned. We now face some real difficulties to keep our staff happy,"

As a result of these concerns LCCI has made a number of recommendations to the Government in order to curb uncertainty and maximise opportunity, maintain London as great place to do business and enhance and expand devolution to London. 

The Government could liaise with LCCI and other business groups to create a "Brexit help desk" resource to offer advice and information

The Government should commit to investing or progressing strategic London infrastructure projects such as Crossrail 2, airport runways and river crossings

The Government should use the Autumn Statement to reinforce London's economic potential and devolve spending powers for finance, transport and skills to City Hall.

The Mayor of London should examine the potential of a new 'Capital Work Visa' - granting 'indefinite leave to remain' - to provide reassurance to current EU national employees and their London employers.

The Mayor of London should explore how a new 'Capital Work Permits' system - with realistic duration - could provide access for future migrant workers and meet London employers' need for skilled workers.

Chief Executive of LCCI, Colin Stanbridge said: "Speaking to our members we have been left with a very real sense that they want policymakers to act decisively and we need to focus on what needs to be done now to ensure that the whole country prospers in years to come.

 "There are some very tangible concerns here and they need to be acted on, not placated. We need the Government to lead the vision for London, act boldly and act now."

LCCI is currently working with other agencies to explore ways of implementing a Capital Work Visa and Capital Work Permit.

Further details will be released next month.

ENDS

Media contact
Katharine McGee
T: +44 (0)20 7203 1897                         
M: +44 (0)7827 241528
E: kmcgee@londonchamber.co.uk

NOTES TO EDITOR:

  1. London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) is the capital's largest and most representative business organisation, with members ranging in size from multi-national companies to SMEs and sole traders.
  2. Colin Stanbridge, chief executive is available for further comment and interview.
  3. ComRes surveyed 504 London business decision makers online between 3rd and 31st August 2016. Data was weighted to be representative of all London businesses by company size and broad industry sector. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Data tables are available at www.comresglobal.com
  4. The full report can be found here