Economic growth carries risk for culture and creativity, says report

AstroStar shutterstock_251095102-2

Photo: AstroStar ┃

The economic success of London may be coming at a cost to the culture and creativity of the city. This is the warning in a report by the World Cities Culture Forum, a network of 27 cities, including London, that share research to help develop policy.

In its 2015 report, published to coincide with a summit meeting in London, it says that the capital’s growth poses significant challenges with pressure on housing and transport, and many people priced out of the city centre.

As reported by Urbs, the affordability of housing means younger people, in particular, find trouble finding a place to live, with many moving back in with parents after finishing higher education.

The report observes that the rising cost of living makes it very difficult for those working in the creative industries to find not only a home but also a space to work. It says, “For some years, places like London and New York have been replacing studios with apartments, artists with bankers. Estimates suggest that in the next four years, London will lose around 30% of its current artists’ workspace.”

The forum says that the emergence of ‘tech city’ in East London in the 1990s demonstrated the value of low cost workspace. Without it cities are prevented form nurturing radical and provocative ideas.

According to data analysis by the WCCF, London has the highest proportion of people working in the creative industries of any of its 27 city members. It says that 16.2% of the London workforce is in the creative industries, according to data from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

creative industries employment

Ricky Burdett, Professor of Urban Studies at the LSE says, “The contribution of London’s creative industries to national productivity 
and its ability to attract young and global workforce are central to its survival as a world city.”

Surveys have shown that people globally rate London highly as a city to come to work, as previously reported by Urbs. The cultural and creative life of the city plays a part in their decision.

The report says that while some cities are now making low cost work space a priority they are failing to solve the problem of affordable housing for their artists, producers and young creative talent.

London data

World Cities Culture Forum 2015 report

See also

Where in the world would you like to work?

London leads Europe but lags behind US as tech start up base, says survey



Shrinking public sector employment outdone by private sector jobs growth

commuters B&W-2The proportion of jobs in the public sector is shrinking, driven by government cuts under its austerity plans but more largely by the growth in private sector employment.

744,000 people living in London work in the public sector, which includes the NHS, education, central government, local authorities, public bodies, the police and the armed forces. That is 15.3% of the workforce and one of the lowest rates in Britain. The average for England is 16.8% with rates much higher in the North East and in Wales and Scotland.

public sector jobs regional

Since 2010 there has been an 8% decline in public sector jobs. Under government plans heath and education budgets are protected so the cuts have fallen elsewhere. Some of the reduction may be attribute to reclassification. At the end of 2013 Royal Mail was privatized and in early 2014 the Lloyds Banking Group, that had been bailed out by the government and taken in to the public sector, was reclassified as private as the government sold down its share.

During the same period there has been rise of in private sector job, pushing up the proportion of private sector workers from 81% to 85% of the workforce.

This split however is not uniform across London. 27% of the employment in Greenwich is in the public sector. That’s the highest rate of any region in the UK, and neighbouring Lewisham and Newham are not that far behind. At the other extreme, there are just 3% of people in the City working in the public sector.

public sector jobs map

Government pressure to reduce the size of the public sector is likely to lead to it making up a smaller proportion of employment in the next few years. The Office for Budget Responsibility, which analyses public finances, has said that between 2010-18 it expected to see the loss of 1.1 million public sector jobs across the country.

London is fortunate in seeing private sector job growth to compensate, at least in numbers. What is not clear from this data is how successful ex-public sector workers are at finding appropriate work in private organisations.

Source data

See also

Jobs concentrated in just 5 of London’s 33 boroughs

The jobs success and housing failure causing a crisis for the capital

Jobs growth shows changing face of work



Jobs forecast shows Tower Hamlets as engine of employment growth

commuters B&WLondon will experience a 16% growth in the employment market over the next 20 years creating nearly a million new jobs. This growth in employment from 5.5 million jobs in 2014 to 6.4 million by 2036 will be driven by the professional sector, real estate and scientific and technical roles.

Demonstrating the shifting nature of work in the capital some sectors will see a decline. The reduction in manufacturing, as previously reported by Urbs, will fall further, by 54%. That’s around 72,000 posts. Finance jobs are also forecast to shrink by around 9,000.

Jobs grown sector

The figures come from the GLA’s Employment Projection for 2015 which forecasts that jobs growth will be concentrated in inner London. Tower Hamlets stands out with an estimated 74% employment growth, adding 200,000 new jobs. That’s nearly a quarter of all the new posts in London for the period.  Southwark will see strong growth and other job creation is focused in central boroughs.

Jobs growth map

But, as the map shows, while the overall forecast appears optimistic many boroughs are predicted to show very low levels of job growth. And two, Croydon and Barking and Dagenham are expected to see a decline in employment, in line with current trends.

jobs growth trend

Source data

See also

Jobs growth shows changing face of work

Jobs concentrated in just 5 of London’s 33 boroughs

Long distance commuters could fill Albert Hall 13 times

People good, infrastructure less so – what foreign business thinks of London