London’s biggest threats to its competitiveness have nothing to do with Brexit

London explosion

London is one of the richest and most economically stable cities in the world but the biggest threats to its future competitiveness have nothing to do with Brexit.

According to a new report by design and consultancy firm Arcadis, London may rank as “one of the world’s foremost economic powerhouses,” but its severe social inequality, crime, lack of housing and other major issues that pre-date the EU referendum on June 23, could cause huge issues in the long term.

“Sitting at the center of global finance, London’s heavyweight position, combined with a long history of cultural and economic evolution, means it is well equipped to reap the long-term benefits of its status as a true world city,” said the report, which ranks 100 global cities across three sectors of sustainability — “People, planet and profit.”

“However, if the capital is to maintain its long-term competitiveness, there are a number of issues that still need to be addressed. With an environmental ranking of 9, there is a commitment to improving environmental performance of the city through, for example, low emission buses, environmental clean-up programs, infrastructure such as the Thames Tideway Tunnel and volunteer actions from its citizens.

“Ranking only 37 on the people sub-index, the mobility and housing needs associated with a densely populated, growing metropolis are at the forefront of the city’s challenges. With London’s population projected to reach 10 million people by 2030, improving infrastructure capacity and providing the right number and type of homes that will enable all people to live and work is critical.”

Arcadis pointed out that while London is ranked fifth in its list of most wealthy and economically healthy cities in the world, it comes 37 in its people sub-index.

The people sub-index effectively assesses 100 major cities in the world for:

  • Income inequality
  • Crime
  • Education
  • Work-life balance
  • Health
  • Affordability

Arcadis notes that London suffers from a toxic mix of bad results from these categories where “28% of the city’s population are living below the poverty line, and addressing income inequality and the high cost of living will do much to improve London’s people score and its overall rankings.”

“London has reached a tipping point, as the large differential between its people and profit rankings demonstrates. Yet, in the aftermath of Brexit, the Mayor needs to persuade global businesses that London’s infrastructure priorities have not changed and that the capital remains just as viable outside of the EU,” added the report.

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