Poverty in London

 By Robert Clear, Researcher in the City of London Research Team


Poverty is one of the most persistent and high profile challenges for policymakers in the capital. Among the most important tools available to help understand the nature of the problem, and how it is changing over time, are the English Indices of Deprivation. These divide the country into 32,844 small areas (known as Lower-layer Super Output Areas – or LSOAs), and rank them in order of how deprived they are. In the latest version of the indices this is determined using thirty seven indicators that fall into seven groups (listed with their relative weightings in brackets):

  • Income Deprivation (22.5%)
  • Employment Deprivation (22.5%)
  • Education, Skills and Training Deprivation (13.5%)
  • Health Deprivation and Disability (13.5%)
  • Crime (9.3%)
  • Barriers to Housing and Services (9.3%)
  • Living Environment Deprivation (9.3%)

The Indices are designed for comparison, rather than quantifying how deprived specific small areas are and they are particularly useful for exploring the patterns of deprivation across larger areas. Below are maps of London from 2004 and 2015, where the status of the capital’s LSOAs are coloured according to which band they occupy in the rankings (whether, for example, they are in the 5% most deprived vs the 50% least deprived).


Map 5 Index of Multiple Deprivation 2004, London


Looking first at the 2004 map, we can see high concentrations of deprivation in inner London, particularly in Tower Hamlets, Newham and the eastern half of Haringey. There is a striking concentration in the inner east of the city, stretching upwards through hackney and towards Tottenham. This reflects a longstanding trend in which the capital’s deprivation has been slanted towards its more densely populated core and away from the suburbs.

In the 2015 map, however, the spatial patterns of deprivation have changed.

Map 2 Index of Multiple Deprivation 2015, London


Here we can see that deprivation is more widely spread across the city. The large, deep purple areas of inner London that were among the most deprived 20% in England are now heavily punctuated by the lighter shades that indicate lower levels of deprivation. At the same time, large areas of suburban Enfield and Barking and Dagenham have become poorer. There are also significant increases in poverty on the capital’s southern perimeter in Bromley and Croydon, and at its northern edge in Havering. Some boroughs have seen comparatively little change, with Richmond and Kingston two of the least acutely deprived in the capital in 2004 and remaining so in 2015.

These, however, are among the few. Overall, the maps suggest that in the eleven years that separate them, poverty thinned across London’s core and its East End, and shifted to its outer boroughs. The maps describe relative degree of poverty, rather than expressing it as an absolute measure – but illustrate the challenge of reducing deprivation across the board, and preventing it from moving from one area to another.




As many as 1 in 3 Inner London workers affected by the tube strike

By Maxine Kennedy, Researcher in the City of London Research Team


As I’m sure everyone is acutely aware, there was a tube strike this week (9/01/17). With this in mind, I thought it would be relevant to have a look into the data available on the commutes of London’s workforce.

The 2011 Census captured travel to work data across the UK for people aged 16 to 74 in employment. It found that 20% of London’s workforce regularly use either the ‘Underground, metro, light rail or tram’ to get to work and back. A further 18% regularly use a train and 12% use a ‘bus, minibus or coach’. Interestingly, more Londoners walk to work (7%) than cycle (4%). 27% drive either a car or a van.

The data on London's boroughs shows us how people in different areas travel to work. Looking at the level of usage in the ‘Underground, metro, light rail or tram’ category across London shows us which areas were most likely affected by Monday’s strike. Not so surprisingly, the workforce in Inner London uses these types of transport more often than those in outer London. The proportion is highest in Westminster at 36%, although colleagues in the City of London weren’t far behind at 32%.

Other services in this category such as the DLR still ran on Monday, but as these services cover much less of London than the tube network, we can approximate that between a quarter and a third of Inner London workers were affected. The rate would probably be higher if were able to include those who primarily use another form of transport (say, a train) then a tube once they get to central London. Unfortunately, the data only shows people’s main method of transport.

  Percentage of London borough's workforce using Underground, metro, light rail or tram

Looking at the distances travelled by London’s workforce shows that almost 30% of journeys are less than 5km and almost 50% are less than 10km, so cycling isn’t completely out of the question as an alternative method of transport (for those who are moderately fit/didn’t eat too many mince pies this Christmas).

In fact, lots of people did decide to cycle on Monday, and Transport for London said that at 11.15am, 17,417 Santander cycles had been hired, and by 4pm, there had been a 149% increase in Santander cycle hires. You might be inclined to give cycling a go, particularly if you work in Hackney where 8% of your colleagues in the borough already cycle to work.

But cycling was probably out of the question for those that needed to travel more than 40km to get to work (this accounts for 8% of London’s workforce) – perhaps they joined the other 8% that usually works from home?

Whatever your journey, I hope it wasn’t too bad!




Pedalling into the New Year

By Saif Ullah, Researcher in the City of London Research Team 


Happy 2017! On my commute into the office since the New Year, I began thinking about one of the most common resolutions people make at the start of any year – the desire to lose weight and stay fit – and whether this motivation led to people taking up more active forms of transport into work, such as cycling.

It is quite commonplace for the British public to make New Year resolutions. A YouGov poll published last year found that approximately 63% of those surveyed planned to make a New Year resolution for the year ahead (in London, the proportion is slightly higher at nearly 70%). By far the most popular resolutions made by the British public are losing weight (35%), getting fitter (33%), and eating more healthily (31%).

Most people are aware of the ‘January gym rush’ following the Christmas party season. For example, last year The Gym Group said it has experienced an 11.2% increase in memberships between the end of December and February.

But to what extent do the public’s new found fitness goals translate to how they commute into the office? Do people tend to cycle more in January after the Christmas holiday season? And to what extent does this have an impact on the rest of London’s transport network?

GLA’s London Datastore has a couple of useful datasets which can help us assess cycling usage on a month-by-month basis. Looking at the number of bicycle hires over the last two years, January actually yields among the lowest volume of hires across the month – there were just over 586k bicycle hires in January 2016, compared with a peak of 1.19 million in July 2016.

  Number of Bicycle Hires in London

We can also look at cycle flows on the TFL road network as an indication of bike activity in the capital, although this only represents cycling on 5% of London’s roads. Again, data for the previous financial year indicates that across January, bicycle counts for the period were amongst the lowest registered for the year.

  Pedal Cycle Counts Indexed

N.B. Indexed flow is relative to a baseline of 100 in March 2000


In comparison, if we look at bus and underground journeys in London (the most common type of journey, excluding commuter rail travel into the capital), we can see that journeys in January were among the highest (179.5m bus journeys in January compared to a peak 203.4m in April, and 106.8m underground journeys compared to a peak of 114m in November).

  Number of journeys made on Bus and Underground

So there doesn’t seem to be any indication of a spurt in cycling journeys in January, or a switch away from more commonly used transportation methods during the month. Of course, colder weather across January and February likely influences peoples’ motivations to cycle to work, while a lot of people may also be away in the early part of January. And it may also be difficult for many to cycle to work if they live further out of the capital.

Nevertheless, it is interesting to see how little people change their commuting habits in January, particularly given heightened desires to become more active following the holiday season. Perhaps something for the Mayor of London’s new Walking and Cycling Commissioner to look in to? 



Santa’s statistical sleigh ride

 By Dr Laura Davison, Head of Research at the Economic Development Office, City of London Corporation

Everyone knows that Father Christmas has a momentous task on Christmas Eve – delivering presents to good children across the world. One (not entirely serious) calculation puts this at 822.6 visits per second, assuming he visits 91.8 million homes worldwide across a 31 hour period (allowing for the earth’s rotation).

With a challenge of such size – how would Father Christmas tackle London? And where might he turn for information, to help him understand the nature of the task facing him, and London’s distinctive demography?

First, let’s assume that Father Christmas only visits homes where at least one child believes in him. An American poll found that 84% of adults had believed in Father Christmas as a child, and that the average age they stopped believing was 8.8. Psychologist Jacqueline Woolley - renowned for her research into the nature of children’s understanding of the fantasy / reality distinction - found that by nine, the majority of children no longer believed in Santa Claus.

  Jacqueline Woolley

Does London have a lot of 0 – 9 year olds?  The ONS have a handy custom age tool, available via the London Datastore that lets you pull out different age ranges for boroughs in London. There are nearly 1.2 million children in this age range – 13.8% of the population. This is a little higher than the proportion across the UK as a whole – 12.3%. In fact, 15% of the UK’s 0 – 9 year olds live in London, so Santa has his work cut out!

There is, of course a huge variation in the number of these children per borough. The City of London has a mere 712 – whereas at the top end, Croydon, Barnet, Newham and Ealing, all top 50,000 (taking over a minute apiece to visit, at 822 visits per second!). As the borough mapper shows, the outer London boroughs are also generally more concentrated in terms of the proportion of the population that are children (here aged 0 – 15).



 But have all these children been naughty or nice – and will Santa be safe leaving his sleigh unattended while quaffing brandy and eating mince pies? There’s a range of different data Santa might find interesting here – the Metropolitan Police report crime data, across a range of categories – he might feel much safer leaving the reindeers in Kingston (616 thefts from a motor vehicle in 2012/13) than Ealing (3063), but tread particularly carefully around Westminster and Lambeth (topping the ‘assault with injury’ stakes).

Or he might like something visual – like the Datastore’s Wellbeing map, which lets you weight different types or scores – in the example here, I’ve weighted it strongly towards education (unauthorised pupil absence, educational attendance), and moderately towards safety (crime rate and deliberate fires).

  Well being ward map


 Finally – and sticking with the visualisations – Father Christmas might want to know a bit more about the type of buildings he is visiting. Will he be able to get down the chimney, or is he about to be faced with large blocks of confusing flats? The UK data explorer lets you look at all different kinds of Census data plotted at a ward level– here, for example, he can see a very high density of purpose built blocks of flats in central London.

  Census 2011-Wards in London


So there are quite a few useful sites that would help him understand how he might want to approach the London deliveries – or help you picture what London looks like in different ways. Of course, all of this is somewhat academic, as the approach referenced at the beginning that calculated his necessary delivery speeds - also calculates that his reindeer will spontaneously combust from the air resistance, while Santa is crushed by centrifugal forces…

Happy Christmas all!




The UK financial services sector contributes £71.4bn to public finances

By Snehal Sahani, PwC Total Tax Contribution team


Yesterday, the City of London Corporation launched its ninth Total Tax Contribution (TTC) study for the financial services sector.  This year (2016) the study showed that the taxes paid by financial services have now exceeded the pre financial crisis level. At £71.4bn, the contribution is at its highest since the study began in 2007 and is 7.4% higher than the sector’s contribution in 2015.

For the first time this year, the report includes a sub sector analysis of banks and insurers. They both fall under the umbrella of ‘financial services’, however their tax profiles are very different as shown below.

          Total tax 2016

(Image Source: https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/business/economic-research-and-information/research-publications/Documents/Research%202016/total-tax-report-2016.pdf)

A key difference is that while the banks generally do not collect an indirect tax from their customers, insurers charge insurance premium tax based on customer premiums. As a consequence, taxes collected other than from wages are a much more prominent feature of the TTC for insurers than for banks.

This suggests that taxes contributed by certain businesses are more dependent on the nature of the activity than the location of their operation.

Overall, this study provides a unique insight into the financial services sector’s tax contributions and highlights their importance to public finances in the UK.


Download the Total Tax Contribution of UK Financial Services



A new measure of inflation

 By Robert Clear, Researcher in the City of London Research Team


Next year (2017) the Office for National Statistics (ONS) will change the way it measures inflation. The new method, CPIH (Consumer Price Index including Housing), will sit alongside the existing Consumer Price Index (CPI), which is now widely regarded as unsatisfactory.  What’s significant about CPIH is that it will include a measure of owner occupiers’ housing costs. These include mortgage payments, dwelling insurance, estate agents’ fees and the costs of maintenance and renovation. Many of these costs have traditionally been excluded from CPI due to difficulties in determining how to calculate them and lack of data.

The implications of switching focus from CPI to CPIH are significant. If applied to the latest data, calculations using CPIH would have resulted in a headline inflation figure of 1.2% in September, compared to 1% using CPI, according to the Financial Times.

CPIH will be published from March 2017, at which point it will become the main focus in ONS’s reporting. ONS hopes that the move will encourage other organisations to make use of the measure. At the time of the launch RPIJ, the Tax Prices index and the RPI pensioners’ indices will be discontinued.

This is not the first time that CPIH has been employed in the UK. It was introduced in March 2013 amidst hopes that it would eventually be used as a price stability benchmark for the Bank of England. But in August 2014 its status as an official National Statistic was downgraded by the UK Statistics Authority – it was to revert to experimental status while ways to improve it were explored.

In November this year (2016), with the relaunch confirmed, John Pullinger, National Statistician and CEO of ONS, acknowledged the importance of the new preferred inflation measure being of recognised National Statistic status, and noted that the organisation is working towards re-designating it. Building confidence in the new measure may take time – the Treasury has no current plans to ask the Bank of England to target CPIH. Re-designation will depend on how far it meets users’ expectations of quality, trustworthiness and value.



Talent and an innovative enabling environment: why the tech sector continues to thrive in London

 By Maxine Kennedy, Researcher in the City of London Research Team


Since the Brexit vote in June (23/06/16), European competitor cities have been seen to ramp up their efforts to attract London based firms to other capital cities. For instance, Berlin is currently running a campaign targeted at the tech sector, and set up an office in London in September to drum up interest.

Berlin’s campaign targeting London’s start ups

  Berlin's campaign targeting London's start ups

(image from - http://blog.crowdcube.com/2016/08/04/tech-start-ups-should-be-the-number-one-priority-post-brexit/)


However, it’s good to see that major tech firms are showing their commitment to London. This week (w/c 14 Nov 16),  Google announced further investment that will lead to a doubling in size of their office space in their new London’s King’s Cross headquarters.

Last month, Apple  announced its plans to lease up to 450,000 sq ft at Battersea Power Station, and HSBC announced that it is to locate its new FinTech hub in Southbank. Many have viewed these moves as a much welcomed vote of confidence in the UK, given the uncertain climate after the UK’s vote to leave the EU.

Over the past eight years, the technology, media and telecoms (TMT) sector has been increasingly important for London’s economy, and according to a recent report by Knight Frank, 2016 looks set to the 6th consecutive year that the TMT sector is Central London’s largest source of office demand.

So what is it about London that attracts tech firms?

Savills’ Tech City index finds that London’s biggest strength in the tech industry is its ability to attract human capital- and this matters because it is top talent that employers and entrepreneurs seek to grow their business. Considering that the UK has many universities such Oxford, Cambridge, UCL and Imperial, known for their world-leading research and for producing a stream of talented graduates, this shouldn’t be so surprising.

The index also notes that in spite of the lack of obvious tech infrastructure in the capital, London remains a top tech city because something much more intangible- that of a cultural openness to innovation which has resulted in an enabling environment for creative ideas to flourish. Other indices, such as the City Initiatives for Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CITIE) have ranked London second for innovation and entrepreneurship worldwide.

This supporting environment can be evidenced by the number of start-ups and accelerators that have moved here in recent years. Tech City notes that in London today, there are over 36 business accelerators (eg. Seedcamp, Microsoft Ventures, Future Fifty and London Stock Exchange’s Elite) as well as over 70 co-working spaces (eg. Level39, Second Home, TechHub, and We Work).

There are, of course, steps that can be made to continue to support the tech sector. For instance, there needs to be a renewed emphasis on digital connectivity. Access to broadband was noted as a concern by SMEs in the City, who were interviewed as part of our Clusters and Connectivity research report earlier this year (2016).

For now, however, many business leaders are stating their confidence that London remains the biggest tech centre in Europe and continues to attract the best talent and companies from all over the world.



Living and working in London: earnings, costs and living wages

 By Dr Laura Davison, Head of Research at the Economic Development Office, City of London Corporation


Last week (31/10/16) saw the publication by the Living Wage Foundation of the latest London Living Wage (LLW) figures - a recommended voluntary pay rate of £9.75 an hour in London, rising from £9.45 last year. With the annual release of ONS data on pay the previous week (the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings - ASHE, 26/10/16), it’s a good time to look at what this new data tells us about the relationship between pay and the cost of living in London. It’s also possible to look at how the relationship between pay and the cost of living stack up relative to the rest of the UK, where the new voluntary living wage figure is £8.45 an hour - and where the main differences in cost arise.  

In addition, this year has seen a fundamental change in the way the London Living Wage is calculated, harmonising the approach with the UK methodology, looking solely at the cost of living and removing the element linked to wider incomes and the poverty threshold. This harmonised approach focuses on the income a household would to meet the cost of a so-called ‘basket of goods’ - a collection of goods and services deemed by social consensus to offer a decent standard of living that allows full participation in society. This includes elements such as rent, bills, childcare, groceries, household goods, clothes, transport, and leisure. The work that has gone into designing and recalculating this new London approach highlights some of the differences in the costs - and styles - of living in London relative to other parts of the UK.

The calculations assume that all adults in a household are in full-time employment. It is worth noting, however, that the living wage level does not guarantee that all recipients in full-time work will be able to afford the basket of goods and services calculated. This is because different household compositions will incur different costs and have differing income streams - for example, depending on the number of adults and children, children’s ages, and any entitlement to measures such as tax credits or housing benefit.

The calculations therefore look at the total income needed across seventeen different types of households (using the Minimum Income Standard budgets), calculate the pay needed to attain that income, and then weight the results according to their prevalence in the population. These weights reflect the differences in household composition between London and the rest of the UK – most strikingly the differences in single person households (weighted: 43% in London, 33% across the rest of the UK), and couples without children (weighted: 25% in London, 34% across the rest of the UK). This likely reflects the pattern of internal migration seen for London, with large influxes of people in their late teens and early twenties, and net outward migration from about thirty onwards, as shown in the chart below, plotted with data from the ONS. While slightly fewer London households contain children, the weights allow for a greater proportion of families with three or more children (weighted across categories: 6% in London, 5% across the rest of the UK).


Net Migration in and out of London, year ending June 2013. Source ONS



Looking firstly at pay and living wages, in the first chart, I’ve pulled together data from ASHE looking at full and part time pay in London and the UK, mapped across percentiles to show the range of wages people earn. To this, I’ve added the three different living wages currently in play, calculated on the basis of a 37.5 hour working week (which the Living Wage definitions use).

  • The London Living Wage and UK Living Wage are both voluntary levels of pay, calculated by the Resolution Foundation and overseen by the Living Wage Commission, taking a ‘basket of goods’ approach. For more information on methodology click here.
  • The National Living Wage - which effectively replaces the National Minimum Wage for those aged 25 and over - was introduced in April this year and is a legal Government requirement, annually reviewed by the Low Pay Commission. This takes a different approach, and looks at the economic climate and likely impact on jobs. For more information on methodology click here.


   LLW calculations and graphs2

A couple of aspects jump out.

  • For gross full time weekly pay, the median level (the point where half the population falls above and half below) is £671 in London, versus £539 across the UK - a difference of £132 per week (24% higher).
    • For those on the lowest pay, the gap is considerably smaller - a weekly difference of £50, or 16%, with the lowest 10% of full time earners in London receiving less than £358 per week.
    • As pay gets higher, the difference exacerbates - the top 10% of earners in London take home more than £1437/wk, 36% (£380) higher than across the UK as a whole.
  • For part-time workers, gross weekly pay is much lower - and the differences between London and the rest of the UK much less marked. The median weekly pay of £185 for London workers is only £8 higher than the rest of the UK, and it’s only for part time earners on the highest rates that there’s really much difference.
  • The difference between the three living wage levels can be clearly seen (note this is a fixed rate rather than percentiles). Those on the London Living Wage would be taking home nearly £50 per week more than the UK living wage - and £96 more than the compulsory national living wage.

So, why is the London rate higher – and how does this relate to the costs of actually living in London?

Both the Resolution Foundation and the Trust for London have looked at the elements which make London significantly more expensive as a place to live – with the latter finding that household budgets were between 18% and 47% higher in London. Whilst the costs of consumables such as groceries and clothes were broadly equivalent, three elements are significantly different – housing (factored in as rental prices), transport, and childcare.

In addition, the reports highlight not only differences in costs, but associated differences in lifestyles. In London, for example, single people are more likely to live in shared accommodation (54% of single Londoners in the 2011 Census), and the minimum standard for families is viewed to be a flat rather than a house. In terms of travel, the London calculations view a car as unnecessary for transport, and factor in public transport costs instead (with travelcards split between inner and outer London). There are also more subtle lifestyle differences in costs - with Londoners tending to eat out more, partly reflecting the difficulties in entertaining at home in small or shared accommodation.    

In the second chart here, I’ve focused on housing costs, as this element accounts for the majority of the cost differential between London and the rest of the UK. Here I’ve looked at the costs of different types of private rented housing using data from the Valuation Office Agency. Whilst the living wage factors in the assumption that families with children live in the social rented sector, DCLG data reports 263 thousand households currently on the waiting list for social housing in London, so here I’ve focused on private rents.

The chart below shows monthly rents by housing type across London – with the London Living Wage mapped across overall and at a 50% level (showing what a single earning LLW household spending all and half their gross wages on housing could afford respectively).


  London rents by housing type and living wage2


Again, several trends jump out:

  • The London average is significantly more than the UK average - the median rent is over double that for England, and at the cheapest end (lower quartile), 2.3 times as much. For this lower quartile, the difference is £655 per month - £151 per week, so rather more than the London and UK Living Wage differential of £50/week.
  • The ASHE figures showed a weekly difference in average wage of £132 / week between London and the UK overall. But the average housing cost difference equates to £185 / week. So the higher salaries in London do not - for most people - compensate for the higher cost of rent.
  • The cost of renting does vary significantly across housing type - but spending half of the London Living Wage gross pay rate for a full-time worker would only put them within reach of shared rooms or the cheapest studios.
  • This would obviously pose significant problems for families if dependent on the private rented sector. The living wage calculations assume they have access to social housing – but even here, the latest English Housing Survey report shows London’s social rented sector weekly costs as 36% higher than across the rest of England (£120 vs £88 per week).
  • Full time workers on the median London salary would receive around £2900 / month before tax. The median London rent of £1452 would take up half of this. For the lowest quartile of pay (£2071 /month) and rents (£1150 / month), this would be 56%.  
  • There are, of course, significant differences in London boroughs (not shown on this chart). Kensington and Chelsea sees the highest median rent (£2492 / month), and Havering the lowest (£1000 / month).

So, looking across the data here on earnings and rental prices, while full-time salaries in London are significantly higher than across the UK, rented accommodation is a very significant cost and proportion of wages - and the higher salaries earned in London do not fully cover this differential. Those on the London Living Wage with families are assumed to be in the social rented sector; if not, only the smallest and cheapest types of private rented accommodation would be realistically affordable. Housing pressures and costs continue, then, to be one of the most significant challenges for London and Londoners.





Cyber crime: a growing threat to business?

By Saif Ullah, Researcher in the City of London Research Team 


Earlier this month, the Government started this year's cyber security breaches survey. The survey annually tracks how UK businesses are approaching cyber security and the impact of cyber attacks over the past year.

Last year’s survey provided some worrying insights into the impact of cyber crime on businesses. Nearly two-thirds of large businesses (i.e. those with 250+ employees) had experienced a cyber breach or attack in the previous 12 months, with a quarter of those firms experiencing a breach at least once a month.  More concerning was the relative impact of firms that experienced a successful cyber breach: the average cost of a breach to a large business was £36,500, while the costliest breach identified in the survey amounted to £3 million.

Indications are that cyber threats to companies are increasing rather than decreasing. PwC’s Information Security Breaches survey found a growing number of small and large organisations had experienced a security breach in 2015– 90% of large firms were hit by a cyber attack compared to 81% the previous year, while 74% of small businesses experienced a cyber breach, up from 60% a year earlier. Similarly, the cost of breaches to firms is on the rise, from between £1.46m - £3.14m for large companies (up from £600k - £1.15m a year earlier) and £75k-£311k for small businesses (up from £65k - £115k the previous year).

Are businesses becoming more vulnerable to cyber attacks?

Several reasons have been cited for the growing number of cyber breaches on businesses. One factor is the increased availability of hacking tools, making it easier for criminals to commit cyber attacks. Increased use of mobile devices by companies, such as tablets and smartphones, have resulted in firms being more susceptible to malicious software – a Norton Security Report found that people were much less concerned about installing anti-virus software on mobile platforms in contrast to their desktop computers.

Data breaches via third party companies are also becoming a growing issue for businesses, as cyber criminals target the less sophisticated security measures of partners to gain access to a company’s systems. A high profile attack on US company Target in 2013 saw approximately 110 million customers’ personal data stolen, after one of its suppliers – a refrigeration company – was compromised.

Another reason cited for the increased number of reported cyber attacks is that firms are becoming more transparent about incidents which they have suffered, giving the appearance of more cyber-related incidents taking place.


Most businesses are able to protect themselves sufficiently through low-cost measures, such as installing and keeping up to date anti-virus and firewall software, using complex passwords for IT systems, computers and mobile devices, and keeping data important to your business secure. Yet, cyber security remains relatively under-prioritised at boardroom level, resulting in some businesses using outdated software with increased vulnerabilities. 

Additionally, employees clicking an email containing a malicious link can often be the greater threat to cyber security for a business. Companies should ensure that they regularly communicate and educate their staff about protecting their work devices from cyber threats.

The Government offers various resources that can help business improve their protection measures. The Cyber Essentials scheme allows SMEs and larger businesses to measure their level of protection against common cyber threats. Businesses can also attain a Cyber Essentials Badge to advertise the fact that it adheres to a government endorsed standard.

Companies can also gain further practical advice on protection using GCHQ’s 10 Steps to Cyber Security guidance, while the Government’s Cyber Aware website is a useful portal for information on both protection and response to cyber attacks.

The City of London Police (COLP)  plays a vital role providing guidance to individuals and businesses here in the City on protection against cyber threats  (COLP hosts a webpage with Get Safe Online where visitors can access information on protection measures and learn about online safety in the City). The City of London Police also host Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre and providing training on cyber crime through their internationally renowned training academy.

Cyber crime presents an immense challenge to businesses all over the world, potentially resulting in millions of pounds worth of losses unless vulnerabilities are addressed. Ensuring cyber security remains a high business priority and protection measures are regularly updated can go a long way to prevent future cyber attacks. 




London’s housing supply crisis

By Robert Clear, Researcher in the City of London Research Team


The Greater London Authority estimates that the capital needs 48,841 new homes per year up to 2034/5 to keep up with the demands of a growing population. Around half that number are being built. Of the 48,841 homes required annually, the GLA estimates that 48% need to be market rate, 20% intermediate (homes for sale and rent provided at a cost above social rent, but below market levels) and 32% social or affordable rent.

Not only are too few houses being built, but the pattern of house completion does not reflect the pattern of need. Of the 23,640 house completions in 2013/14:


  • 74.5% (17,600) were market housing, compared to the 48% (23,217) that will be required each year, according to the GLA.
  • 15.9% (3,750) were social rent and 540 were affordable rent, compared to the 32% (15,722) required.
  • 10.2% (2,400) were intermediate, compared to the 20% (9,902) required.


Net conventional housing completions by tenure, London 2004/05 to 2013/14

Net conventional housing completions by tenure, London 2004.05-to-2013.14


The heavy bias towards market housing is accompanied by a longstanding reliance on the private sector to deliver the bulk of supply – a reliance that has increased over the past forty years. Throughout the 60s and 70s local authorities were responsible for the greater part of housing construction. This trend, however, changed from the 1980s, and since then the overwhelming majority of London’s housing construction has been carried out by the private sector, with a significant (though minority) share undertaken by housing associations.

Of the 24,363 dwellings were completed in London in 2015:

  • 67.6% (16,464) were built by the private sector.
  • 31.8% (7,759) were built by housing associations.
  • 0.5% (130) were built by local authorities.

The relationship between London’s population and its housing supply has changed significantly over time. Between 1961 and 1991 the capital’s population shrank by over 1.6 million, but during that period the number of homes increased by over half a million. Between 1991 and 1998, supply increased at less than 1 percentage point above population growth, and real house prices were stable, rising at an annual rate of about 1%.

Between 1998 and 2014, however, the rate of housing supply growth fell well below population increases. In this period London’s population grew by 21.1%, but dwelling stock grew by just 12.7%, with house prices increasing by 9% per year. There is also a longstanding trend for the conversion of houses to flats (as well as the conversion of other types of building to residential use), which has driven up London’s population density – the GLA predicts it will increase by 19.5% by 2041.


Percentage change in number of jobs, people and homes in London, 2009–14

Percentage change in number of jobs, people and homes in London, 2009-14


In recent years the disparity between the increase in jobs, people and houses has become acute. 698,000 jobs  were created in London between 2009 and 2014 - 14% increase, and the population grew by 596,000 (over 7%). But during that time only 120,000 homes were added - a less than 4% increase.

These figures illustrate the scale of the challenge facing policymakers. Business leaders must also engage with this challenge as London’s supply crisis threatens to overburden workers with ever increasing housing costs and erode the capital’s competitive advantages.