Home Estate Planning Housing is a business issue, and nowhere more so than in London

Housing is a business issue, and nowhere more so than in London

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Ask business leaders in private what’s bothering them and the usual list is predictable enough: the markets, performance, getting the right team in place. Recently, we’ve heard a new one feature in more than a few conversations: whether London can keep its edge as the place to be for their talented young staff.

The capital is increasingly unaffordable for twenty- and thirty-somethings, as yesterday’s house price affordability data demonstrates. As corporates have tightened their belts on pay-rises, rents and deposits have shot up. Our newspaper has lost not one but two talented staff members who simply wanted to head back home, rather than stay in the capital, so that they could buy a house. 

Housing is a business issue, nowhere more so than in London. It’s also a cost of living issue.

A radical reduction in the price of the roof above one’s head – through house prices and rents stabilising whilst wages rise alongside – would be transformative for the UK economy. Firms would not be under pressure to jack up wages as swiftly as they are; employees would not be constantly looking around for a small jump elsewhere.

Above all else, London would become a more appealing magnet for global talent who are at the start of their careers, bringing the fresh ideas and enthusiasm which have been at the heart of our growing businesses for decades. 

Whitehall has to take this seriously, as do other arms of government including the Greater London Assembly. Developers are desperately keen to fill the demand, as you’d expect: liberalising planning law and letting them get on with building sooner rather than later seems to us at least a no-brainer.

We have had enough warm words from the more than a dozen housing ministers we’ve had in as many years.

It is time for more considered action that gives the next generation a chance to get on the ladder in a place they actually want to live.

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