London businesses are worried that housing costs will stop them being able to recruit and keep staff, according to research from London First.
This is significant: London First isn't a bunch of hand-wringing liberals, it's a membership organisation of businesses in the capital, whose primary aim is to make London "the best city in the world in which to do business". It asked 28 of its members about housing and found 68% are currently worried that the cost of just living here is having an impact on their ability to get and keep the best employees, with 75% worried about future housing costs. 19 of the 28 judged housing to be a high or medium risk to their business.
The effect of this, thinks London First, could be to stifle economic growth. If the best and brightest are scared off moving here in the first place, or decide it'd make more financial sense to raise their families by taking that less-well-paid-but-look-at-the-house-prices job in Manchester, London's ability to compete globally could suffer. One of the reasons London outstrips the rest of the UK is because it's a magnet for ambitious people from all over the country. But if your starting salary is little more than your rent, you're likely to stay nearer home.
Interestingly – again, coming from outfits that aren't stuffed with quinoa-eating lefties – the most popular solution to the housing crisis is increasing the amount of public investment, followed by more housing subsidies to the low paid and easing planning restrictions. Not one respondent thought it wasn't the government or City Hall's business.
Photo by LunaticDesire from the Londonist Flickr pool.