London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has 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 percent) of respondents had heard of the Government’s levelling up programme, but only a minority of that 82 percent understood it.
The survey showed overwhelmingly that businesses have a lack of knowledge about the levelling up policy itself; only 30 percent 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 percent) 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 percent) of firms surveyed were unable to say whether the policy strikes a good balance between infrastructure and investment in people and skills.
The survey found that half of all businesses (50 percent) would experience difficulties if they were not able to work with other UK based-companies, rising to over two thirds (76 percent) of businesses with over 250 employees.
There was a higher level of concern in service sectors including transport and storage, motor trades and wholesale.
The 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 percent), followed closely by funding adult learning (19 percent), encouraging capital investment (17 percent) and giving London local government more control over taxes generated in the capital (16 percent).
Richard Burge, Chief Executive of 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.”