London will bounce back from Covid setback

With two vaccines potentially rolling out early next year, will 2021 be the renaissance of London? Luke Davis, CEO of SME investment firm IW Capital, discusses how a resurgence of London in 2021 will impact the capitals SMEs.

For decades, London’s opportunities, unique history, buzzing entertainment venues, hospitality, shops, and nightlife have attracted people from all over the country, not to mention the rest of the world.

However, the Covid-19 pandemic has fuelled a mass exodus from London, with recent figures from Rightmove indicating that five in ten people are now planning to buy outside of the capital.

London has even seen a sharp decline in demand from renters, as many young adults have fled the capital and returned to their family homes during the initial lockdown and continued Covid-19 restrictions.

All of this has had a grave impact on the nations small businesses, many of which rely on the heavy city footfall to remain trading. Coupled with the fact that non-essential businesses have been asked to close once again, and hospitality venues are only allowed to open for takeaways, SMEs across the country have had to show a great deal of resilience to survive this period.

However, the pandemic will not last forever, and London will almost certainly make a comeback post-covid. The breakthrough successes of Moderna and Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccines signal ‘the beginning of the end’ of the pandemic, giving small business owners and the British public alike, greater hope and confidence that there will be some form of normality on the horizon in 2021.

The attraction of London to small businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs may have become less apparent over the last few months but with vaccines on the horizon and an end to Brexit uncertainty coming, London will rebound to become the globally leading city it has always been.

Lockdown in London has inevitably had a huge impact on small businesses, many of which rely on packed custom from the heavy London footfall in order to make money. While small firms have always been the most adaptable and nimble companies in terms of changing their offerings to adapt to market demand, the past few months have really taken their toll on many of the country’s smaller businesses.

However, it is important to remember that this lockdown and the pandemic will not last forever. The news of two successful vaccine trials potentially rolling out early next year, may signal a ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ for many small business owners.

Once business owners in the hospitality, leisure, and entertainment industries are able to operate – perhaps not entirely as normal – but in a greater capacity than they currently can, the appeal of the capital will inevitably return. This will almost certainly lead to this renaissance of London, where we will see huge numbers of people from across the country, and perhaps even overseas again, flocking back into the capital. This will provide a huge boost to London’s small businesses.

The SME community make up 99.9% of private sector businesses, and so supporting them to ensure their financial growth, is of the utmost importance to the overall health of the UK economy. Small firms already employ over 16million people in the UK, and pre-pandemic, this sector was growing at a faster rate than the overall job market. A return to this would provide a welcome boost.

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