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Taking the temperature of London businesses

By Joel Marsden, Economist, Intelligence Unit, Greater London Authority

As the autumn winds whip around City Hall to mark an abrupt end to the Indian summer, results from the London Business Survey (LBS) allow us to take the temperature of London businesses. They provide a unique insight into the issues affecting business owners and managers in the capital, generating a representative picture of the main issues facing private sector businesses in London. Overall, more than 3,000 businesses were canvassed.

As part of the drive to build an evidence base to help to deliver the London Enterprise Panel’s Jobs and Growth Plan, the GLA asked the ONS to run the 2014 LBS.  The survey reveals the experiences of different size firms operating across the range of capital’s economic sectors.

All the data – across a range of areas from business performance, workforce profile, innovation, access to overseas markets and perceived support to SMEs – can be found in data files on this Datastore.

The results are presented in terms of numbers (or proportions) of business units, where a business unit is a site or workplace. This can also be a head office if this is located in London.

Some of the highlights from the main findings report show that:

  1. London is home to over 70,000 start-ups – around 17 per cent of London business units were established between 2012 and mid-2014.
  2. London businesses are optimistic about the economic outlook, but unsure of how quickly this will translate into jobs while the majority of businesses said the firm was planning to grow; and expect the economic situation in London to improve, less than one-quarter expected numbers of employees to increase in the next 12 months.
  3. London is a hive of innovation activity – an estimated 58% of London business units introduced new and significantly improved products, processes or business practices in the year to mid-2014.

The full report analysing the main findings of the 2014 survey is available on the GLA Economics publications page.