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Vibrant economy

London’s vibrant economy relies upon solving the housing shortage

A new report released today by Grant Thornton UK LLP reveals the impact that London’s housing shortage is having on businesses in the capital.

It reveals that eight in ten businesses (84%) believe that high housing costs pose a risk to the capital’s economic growth. Nearly half (48%) of the employers surveyed have taken steps to help their workforce deal with London’s high housing costs.

Seven in ten (72%) are concerned about the impact it has on employee recruitment and retention, with one in five firms (21%) considering moving their business out of the capital to cope with the cost pressures.

Over half of employers (54%) are worried that high housing costs will affect employees’ wellbeing and engagement and half (50%) of employers are also worried that high housing costs will make it more difficult to retain people and that it will lead to pressures for higher wages.

The report marks the launch of an inquiry led by Grant Thornton in partnership with Fifty Thousand Homes. The inquiry will explore ways in which employers, the public sector and housebuilders can work together to improve the availability and affordability of housing in London.

It is being launched at a breakfast event today (Wednesday) in central London, addressed by James Murray, deputy Mayor of London.

Sacha Romanovitch, CEO, Grant Thornton UK LLP, said:

“At Grant Thornton we have a clear purpose to help create a vibrant economy, where businesses, people and communities can flourish. Using our convening power, we are bringing together the public, private and third sectors to try to find solutions to the big questions that will help do this. Following the result of the EU referendum it is more important than ever that we all work together to help the UK to build upon its strengths and ensure that our economy continues to grow.

“In London thousands of businesses, public sector organisations and charities across the capital are grappling with the issue of affordable housing. There are some fantastic examples of innovation in the market, particularly from some employers, and throughout our inquiry we will be looking to harness these in addition to developing new ideas that could help increase the supply of housing and turn them into action.

“Improving the affordability and supply of housing in London could mean happier, more productive employees, and a boost to our economy. More than that it could and should deliver better social integration, and a brighter, more vibrant future for our capital.”

Baroness Jo Valentine, Chief Executive at London First, one of the backers of Fifty Thousand Homes, said:

“The housing crisis puts the capital’s competitiveness at risk. Unless we start building 50,000 homes a year, businesses will face increasing difficulties in attracting the talent they need.”