Housing crisis forcing London workers to quit their jobs, CBI warns


The shortage of affordable homes to buy and rent in the capital has been described as a “ticking time bomb” and is damaging firms’ ability to recruit and retain staff, according to the latest CBI/CBRE London Business Survey.

According to the research, two thirds of the firms in London are struggling to recruit and keep staff as a result of high prices and low-availability of homes. The London Business Survey found that 66% of the 176 respondents said that housing costs were having a big say on how their recruitment – which is a record high percentage for the survey.

While 28% of the leading firms to respond in the capital said that some of their employees had left because they could not afford to live in the local area.

Furthermore, the housing shortage is also an issue for more senior employees, with three fifths (59%) of the capital’s firms citing it as an issue for recruiting mid-level managerial staff (compared with 45% in 2015).

Eddie Curzon, CBI London director, said: “This survey speaks loud and clear – London’s housing shortage is a ticking time bomb. The potent combination of lack of supply and high prices means businesses themselves are being priced out of the market, as they can’t afford to recruit and retain their workers, from entry-level to senior staff. And with two thirds of firms not optimistic the housing market will become more affordable in the next three years, we have a stark challenge on our hands. We’re squarely behind the Mayor’s aim to build 66,000 new homes a year, but want to see more clarity on how he will work with local authorities to crucially unlock supply in every borough.”

The survey also questioned London business leaders on infrastructure and asked what the top priorities were for them. Developing Crossrail 2 (64%) topped the list, with the third runway at Heathrow (52%) and building more cycle routes (36%), making up the top three. To help boost infrastructure investment, over three quarters of businesses (78%) want a more streamlined planning system and over half (51%) support devolution of funding to City Hall.

Adam Hetherington, CBRE managing director of London, added: “Against a politically noisy backdrop, businesses are taking stock and feeling more optimistic about the year ahead. It is reassuring to see that 61% of businesses are planning to expand over the next 12 months. Continued growth is vital for London, which remains one of the most sought-after cities for investment. The Government must take heed of the key issues such as housing, business rates and infrastructure which are impeding businesses ability for future growth.”

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