The latest edition of the London Intelligence reveals a mixture of positive and negative trends. Despite the continued uncertainty around Britain’s departure from the European Union, London’s labour market remained strong, the number of overseas nationals registering to work began to rise again and business confidence was broadly unchanged. International visitor numbers also remained stable and admissions to central London visitor attractions increased.
However, both the commercial and residential property markets have stagnated, with house prices and transaction volumes continuing on a downward trajectory, alongside a large drop in new build housing completions. At the same time, the colder months saw a significant rise in people sleeping rough in the capital and placed emergency departments under increased strain.
All this suggest that cuts to local authority budgets may be affecting their ability to address local needs. Our analysis showed that, despite a two per cent increase in the last year, London boroughs’ per-head budgets have dropped by nearly a fifth over the last eight years, with inner London boroughs hit the hardest. All principal service areas, with the exception of children’s social care, have seen budget reductions, affecting local authorities’ ability to deliver frontline services. Greater control over local taxes would provide much needed stability and enable local authorities to better shape services to suit local needs.