As the UK gradually emerges from lockdown, the deserted streets of London are beginning to show hints of their former vibrancy.
Not only has London been left reeling from the Covid-19 pandemic, it is still yet to work through the fallout from Brexit. As the lockdown lifts in the UK the empty streets of London are beginning to return to their former vibrancy. However a return to normality will not be straightforward as the effects of Brexit will come to the fore.
Brexit has caused a bitter rivalry both domestically and with our neighbours across the Channel. Leading London business figures and brand experts have been asked about how this dual shock has impacted the capital’s status. Looking at both the angles of commercial and cultural influencer and how this might affect London’s future success.
City life has been vastly changed due to the impact of the pandemic causing a global shutdown bringing hospitality services, business, travel and culture everywhere and leading to uncertain futures as to how these cities will revive once the pandemic is controlled. Along with this in the future London also needs to contend with a reputational change following its departure from the EU.
The capital has proved resilient in some ways and it was still voted the world’s most “magnetic” city for the ninth consecutive year, according to the latest Global Power City Index published in December. But UK-wide reputational damage caused by Brexit, as well as studies suggesting an exodus from London, could mean this status is at risk in the future.
More than 500 Londoners were surveyed by market research firm Onepulse showed more than a quarter believe London will become less important on a global stage over the coming years. The report showed more than 27% of respondents said they thought that London would be overtaken by other European cities such as Amsterdam. Although a fifth of the people questioned said the capital would become more important and a third who said they did not expect any change.
John Dickie, chief executive of London First, believes that the capital has a “strong international brand and that hasn’t changed”, although he warned that “Brexit has hit our reputation as being open for business”.
Richard Burge, chief executive of the London Chambers of Commerce and Industry said that it would take the UK some time to restore relations throughout Europe after Brexit. “The fact is London’s services were really accessible”. He believes that “People felt they could come to London and deepen their global reputation. People came here to be in the arts, to create companies, to do trade… they did that because they felt that coming to London they were part of the world rather than simply part of the UK. I think that for now that reputation has taken a bruising.”