The West London Business sentiment survey has been released, and while there is a predictable downward drag on the numbers, it seems there is still some medium term optimism, but support for a third runway seems to have decreased.
The sample size was certainly bigger this year – 450 businesses responded compared to 242 in 2008, making the survey more reliable. It provides a snapshot of views on current business issues, the economic climate and future challenges as seen through the eyes of the businesses in the sub-region.
Unsurprisingly, overall optimism about the general business climate has dropped from 82% last year to 50% this year, with the recession to blame – which is a change, last year the biggest business issue in the sub-region was transport.
82% of businesses still think West London is a good place to do business. This is down from 87% last year, and 72% believe it is a good location for existing businesses to grow (down from 77%).
But optimism about the long term persists, with 92% thinking they’ll be staying in West London, and over half expecting their business to grow over the medium term.
Heathrow is picked out in the survey as a very significant factor in the economy, but less than half support a third runway – 41% back it, down from 54% last year – although only 9% of large businesses (250+ employees) oppose it. 73% support plans for a high speed rail link. The report notes that the proportion of small businesses in the survey sample is significantly lager this year, and given that they are more likely to oppose expansion, this may have affected the year on year comparison.
See the full report.