Sadiq Khan CALLED OUT over Brexit as London economy SOARS: 'Drop EU OBSESSION!'
The upbeat assessment is the latest evidence of Britain defying gloomy predictions about the impact of the vote to leave the European Union – although it also warned of potential problems ahead.
The Centre for London think tank’s quarterly survey said jobs in the capital reached a new high of 5.9 million at the end of June, 1.9 per cent more than the year before and the highest since such records began in 1996.
Unemployment in London was down 0.4 per cent since last year, at 255,000.
Business confidence as measured by the Purchasing Manager’s Index was the highest since last October.
There has also been a significant increase in the number of people moving out of London to other places in the UK and a slowdown in people moving to the city from other countries.
In the year to mid 2017, London had its slowest rate of population growth for over 10 year and National Insurance Number registrations by foreign citizens is also down.
High and rising house prices and rents were a particular factor driving people in their 20s and 30s out of the capital and pollution and crime rates could also have contributed, said the report.
The uncertainty about Britain’s Brexit future could also be denting London’s appeal it said.
Silviya Barrett, research manager at the Centre, said: “The strong employment numbers and buoyant economic performance are encouraging against the background of continuing political uncertainty around Brexit.
“However, declining pay levels and stalling productivity are signs that there could be stumbling blocks on the horizon.
“These data also indicate population growth may be levelling out, though it’s too early to say whether this is a temporary blip, perhaps reflecting post-EU referendum uncertainty, or the beginning of a longer-term trend.
“While some might interpret the drop in migration and population growth as easing the pressure on infrastructure and public services, in the longer term, it has the potential to threaten their viability and significantly damage our economy.”
Susan Hall, Conservative economy spokeswoman on the London Assembly, seized on the positive trends and Mayor Khans past warnings about the dangers of Brexit.
She said: “Since the UK voted to leave the EU two years ago, London’s economy has thrived and employment now stands at a record of almost six million.
“Despite this, we have a Mayor of London who takes any opportunity to talk the capital down and portray London after Brexit as an economic disaster.
“Sadiq Khan needs to drop his ideological obsession with the EU and embrace the opportunities that Brexit presents.
“Brexit isn’t a threat to our city, but a Mayor who doesn’t believe in London is.”
While London is traditionally Britain’s most prosperous area, the report follows a series of positive reports from the wider UK economy.
Employment in the UK and British exports have both hit new record highs, latest official figures show, as wages continue to grow in real terms.
Last week a Japanese government minister promised International Trade Secretary Liam Fox his country would do all it could to help post-Brexit Britain join a lucrative free trade alliance with fast-growing world economies.
And Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt recently held talks in China paving the way for stronger trade links after Brexit.