As work finally begins on the £16 bln. (€16.45 bln.) Crossrail project, there has been a knock-on effect in the confidence of the capital's business leaders, according to a recent survey from the City law firm Pinsent Masons. The survey revealed an emerging feelgood factor about London, fuelled by the 2012 Olympics and infrastructure investments, and widespread commitment to the capital as a place to do business.
The survey revealed that planned infrastructure improvements such as Crossrail, the M25 widening and the Thames Tideway Tunnel are fueling business confidence. Over three-quarters (77%) of respondents believe that these investments will enhance London's competitiveness and attractiveness as a business center. The 2012 Olympics also play a part in boosting business confidence, with almost two-thirds (60%) of respondents agreeing that they will enhance London's status as a business destination.
Above and beyond the general feelgood factor surrounding these projects, over a third (36%) of London businesses feel they will directly benefit from the Olympics while a similar amount (30%) expect to gain from the various transport infrastructure projects underway.
Martin Roberts, Partner and Head of Pinsent Masons London office, said: "Given that these projects total around £35 bln. between them over the next 10 years, it is encouraging to see that London businesses feel that there are direct benefits associated with this level of public spending."
He continues: "Our survey demonstrates that in these uncertain times, major public projects have a dual effect of bolstering business confidence and catalysing the economy."
Other encouraging revelations from the survey include evidence that a majority of London-based businesses remain committed to the capital. Despite a widespread desire to reduce overheads, few businesses cite any desire to relocate as a cost-cutting measure.
Roberts added: "Despite tough economic conditions, there is little evidence to suggest that businesses are giving up on London. This is still very much a world city and one in which people want to live, work and study and for that reason, it will always remain a place to do business. Add to this the impact of the 2012 Olympics and numerous transport improvements and there is every chance that London will emerge from this recession a better, more competitive and more attractive place to do business."
The Pinsent Masons Business Survey involved detailed interviews with over 200 London business leaders (Managing Director, Finance Directors and HR Directors) to gauge sentiment in the current economic climate.
Source: BLJ Financial