CBI: Failing Transport Infrastructure Threatens Business

Articles, LondonUnlockedEditor

200806191047.jpgThe CBI/KMPG London Business Survey throws harsh light on the challenges facing the Mayor as he struggles to retain London's competitive position against other world cities.

As the FT states in its coverage of the report:

Improving London’s transport infrastructure should be the top priority for the new mayor, said the survey, with 94 per cent calling on Boris Johnson to improve public transport and cut congestion.

Transport problems were having a significant impact on business productivity, according to 27 per cent, while 60 per cent said they were having some impact.

The proportion describing the transport system as good or good in patches was 38 per cent, down from 59 per cent a year ago. Those saying it was poor or getting worse rose from 23 per cent to 37 per cent. Almost two-thirds said road congestion in the capital had worsened over the past year, with roadworks and changes in traffic light phasing being blamed the most.

The top spending priority was the Tube, followed by the rail network and roads.

There is a certain truth to the fact that people will continue to complain about London's transport network until every service fits their exact, personal, needs. However, business leaders look beyond such concerns. Their outlook is one of future investment, concentrated on motivated and agile workforces.

If London cannot provide a stable environment, big business will move elsewhere. This would be a disaster, both for Londoners (the pot of taxation available for capital projects shrinking), the UK as a whole, and the Mayor.

As we argued yesterday, there are alternative - or perhaps parallel - projects which could ease the problems which business leaders see on the horizon. Encouraging working from home and local business hubs are but two solutions. Both the Mayor and Government must urgently start acting on this issue.

You can download the full CBI/KPMG report here (pdf).