A recently-released report places London at the top of of a list of world cities in terms of opportunity and as a gateway to the rest of the country. The annual Cities of Opportunity report by PwC has just announced the results of its 7th survey, and London has extended its lead at the head of the pack, ahead of Singapore, Toronto, Paris and Amsterdam.
In several of the categories, the UK capital came out on top or improved its position since the 2015 survey – notably as a city gateway (measuring passenger flows and airport connectivity), in terms of intellectual capital and innovation, and as an economic powerhouse, a position it holds above both New York and Beijing.
Driven by strength across the surveyed topics, London even extended its lead at the top of the ranking this year. The city ranks highly for technological readiness and ease of doing business, the latter aided by the UK’s tax efficiency and the levels of protection for minority shareholders. Further indicators used in the survey place London in the top ten of the cities in the study – ranking 8th in transportation and infrastructure and at the top in end of life care.
Interestingly, given the shortage of affordable property for sale and rent in the capital, London ranks 7th for housing. On the less positive side, a ranking of 24th out of 30 for rent affordability and 30th for cost of living and business occupancy perhaps paints a picture more familiar to Londoners.
The survey comes alongside a government announcement of £5bn of funding for additional house building. Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, announced a £2bn fund to support the ‘Accelerated Construction’ scheme, and a £3bn Home Building Fund to build more than 200,000 new homes.
Mark Hayward, Managing Director, National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), said:
“We are highly supportive of the Government’s plans to fund the building of more than 200,000 houses and that it is considering using brownfield sites for this purpose. Maybe this is also the time to be building on greenfield sites, as we have been calling for this for some time. We believe it is the only way that we will be able to deliver the number of houses that we really need to meet demand and help first time buyers on to the housing ladder.
“However, we have some concerns when it comes to delivery, and wonder whether the plans will actually be feasible. It’s all very well releasing land and providing the finance to build new homes, but if the infrastructure and labour isn’t there to turn bricks and mortar into homes, it simply won’t be do-able. We now need the detail and clearer plans on how this will work in practice.”