The world’s top entrepreneurial talent is being put off moving to the UK – particularly London – due to the burgeoning housing crisis, according to Labour’s shadow minister for industry Iain Wright.
Speaking at an Entrepreneurs Network event in London, Wright warned delegates that if nothing is done to temper housing prices, London will be put at a disadvantage against other major capitals.
“If you’re a young entrepreneur, regardless of where you’re from, would you come to London any more?” he asked. “Yes you might see the buzz, but due to the high house prices if you want to go somewhere that’s gritty, innovative and high-tech you’d say ‘I’ll go to Berlin’.”
Wright went on to say that the capital risks losing its proud record of being somewhere that “young people can set up, explore, experiment and come up with good business and creative ideas”.
“If we’re pricing them out of the market and we’re pricing them out of the UK that can’t be good for the economy. We can’t simply rely on an economic model that replied on attracting foreign millionaires,” he added.
Issues around “supply of housing” also risk destabilising London’s economy in more subtle but equally important ways, according to Wright.
“Issues like the person who cleaned this office at maybe 5am this morning, where do they have to come from to get into central London at that time – then maybe going home afterwards and giving their kids breakfast before school,” he said.
“Little things like that are going to really drag on the whole effective operation of the London market. And I really fear with regards to that.”
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