November 24, 2016
Changes in business rates announced in yesterday’s Autumn Statement are likely to hit hardest the areas in the Capital such as Shoreditch and Fitzrovia where innovative tech companies are located, commented Jon Neale, head of UK Research, JLL. “The impact will no doubt undermine government plans to boost tech investment under its ‘Industrial Strategy’ announced earlier this week,” he said. “Meanwhile, office costs are high in London and post Brexit we need to minimise the risk that companies, will see cheaper continental cities such as Berlin as better bet place to set up shop.” He did add however that the promised “£1.3bn to improve roads and ease congestion is welcome and is likely to unlock development sites and promote economic development in many parts of the country. If the UK is to really address the challenges and opportunities of Brexit, investment in infrastructure needs to be more ambitious as well as more focused on an increasingly digital, hi-tech future. Green and smart city technology, new tram and underground networks and truly high-speed broadband would help provide precisely the platform UK business needs.”
“We also need to see a real commitment to regional devolution – city-regions are best placed to make decisions about how and where to spend money to address skills and infrastructure gaps and help business and innovation flourish in their areas. The new fund earmarked for R&D will be directed towards the development of innovation hubs that bring business together with universities and start-up entrepreneurs, to help bring new products to the market effectively. This would help us produce the world-leading companies of the future.”
“The package for the development of 5G and improving connectivity is overdue and necessary, but it is not just rural areas that suffer from this. Parts of Central London have poor internet connection which isn’t compatible with the growth of tech industries we are seeing in the capital.”
James Finnis, head of South East Office Agency at JLL welcomed the formation of a ‘tech corridor’ between Oxford and Cambridge and said it would be “of huge financial benefit to the local economies of both cities, as well as the wider UK plc.
“Improving connectivity between the two cities via the imminent Expressway is an important step to achieving this and continued investment in infrastructure and local amenities in and around these two cities is vital to ensuring the ‘tech corridor’ can capitalise on the surrounding highly-educated demographic.
“While both robust cities in their own right, collectively drawing on their strengths will ensure they remain competitive on a global scale and attractive to a host of multi-national organisations.”