World News



British Queen celebrates


Bolder action will be ‘essential’ to prevent further unemployment in the capital over the coming year, the Mayor Sadiq Khan warned today, as City Hall published its latest report on the outlook

for London’s economy.

New analysis shows that much of London’s economy should bounce back strongly as COVID restrictions are lifted this year, but that employment levels in the capital may only recover to their pre-pandemic levels as late as the second quarter of 2023.   

The increase in London’s unemployment rate over the last year was higher than in any other UK nation or region. The latest figures also show that the number of payrolled employees living in London remains down by 201,000 - or 4.8 per cent - since March 2020, almost double the rate of decline recorded on average nationally.

Whereas the new analysis shows that London’s economy could see ‘eye-catching’ annual rates of growth in economic output this year, there could remain a ‘large and persistent negative shock’ for sectors such as accommodation and food services, arts, entertainment and recreation, and leisure services, with a continuing impact on jobs. 

City Hall analysis of forecasts by VisitBritain showed that consumer spending in central London by overseas tourists was £7.4 billion lower throughout 2020, and with restrictions in international travel remaining in place, such huge levels of spending from international visitors are unlikely to return soon. This will directly affect retail, leisure, culture and hospitality jobs in London - one in five of all jobs in the capital. That’s why the Mayor’s first act after his re-election was to launch #Let’sDoLondon, the biggest domestic tourism campaign the capital has ever seen, working with organisations from across the capital to encourage visitors back to London’s world-class hospitality and tourism venues.  

With the Government’s furlough scheme set to end on 30th September 2021, today the Mayor is calling on the Government to guarantee that financial support for non-essential retail, culture and hospitality and leisure businesses be extended into 2022, allowing business to retain staff as they deal with large levels of debt accrued during lockdown and while footfall levels remain below pre-pandemic levels. 

The Mayor is also calling on Ministers to go further in outlining a plan to support jobs once the furlough scheme comes to an end, including more support and greater devolved powers to intervene in order to get people back to work. This must be linked to good quality apprenticeships and in-work training that can help people find better paid and more secure jobs than those they’ve lost. 

The Mayor is supporting the culture, retail and hospitality sectors in their request for Government assistance in resolving outstanding disputes between landlords and tenants over rents payable during Covid. The commercial rent and eviction moratorium is due to end 30 June, which could plunge many businesses into difficulties, especially in the event of any disruption to the further easing of lockdown measures.   

Sadiq has published a roadmap for the safe and full reopening of London’s economy, produced directly with businesses and London Councils. 

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “As COVID restrictions continue to be lifted, I’m optimistic that much of London’s economy will see strong levels of growth this year, and we will bounce back from this economic crisis like we have with previous economic shocks. 

“But what these new figures show today is that with international tourism and footfall not likely to return to pre-pandemic levels this year, jobs in several key sectors still remain at risk when the furlough scheme comes to an end this September.  

“I’m doing all I can to support jobs, including launching a huge domestic tourism campaign this month to support our businesses across hospitality, culture and retail – but it would be complacent of ministers to suggest employment levels will simply return to normal, even with our world-leading eco-system of shops, hospitality and cultural venues opening up again. 

“Further action remains essential this year.  This should include extending access to business grants and supporting businesses with rent payments until next year, putting in place proper support for those who have lost their job, and securing a long-term funding deal for TfL to support a robust recovery. 

“My mission over the next three years is to put the dark days of the pandemic behind us and to deliver a better and brighter future for all Londoners – but today’s figures are a reminder that it will require continued support from all levels of government.”

Photo by Joe D, Wikimedia commons.