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London’s recovery needs to focus on housing, says Lloyds Banking Group report

by LLP Reporter
9th Dec 20 4:11 pm

Lloyds Banking Group has unveiled The Big Conversation: Helping Britain Recover report, which harnesses insights gathered from business leaders, policy-makers, and community leaders around the UK and highlights strong calls from stakeholders for a bespoke regional approach to the economic recovery.

The report follows the Group convening 22 discussions with over 900 local businesses, industry leaders, politicians and experts across the UK’s nations and regions. In London, the Rebuilding London – Providing Great Housing For A Great City event discussed how the capital’s housing market has the potential to play a significant role in its economic and social recovery from the pandemic. What emerged from this event was a common view of specific problems and potential solutions, in particular the central importance of long-term policy certainty from government.

Lloyds Banking Group used its network to bring together participants at a time when listening, sharing experiences and a sense of community is even more important than ever before. These roundtables were hosted virtually over three months and saw panels come together to discuss the challenges and opportunities they’ve faced this year and share ideas for building a sustainable recovery across the UK.

Nationally, the conversations explored the critical areas of support needed to help rebuild communities and inform public policy and also identified emerging consensus on what is required to support the UK’s recovery. The insights will help shape future Group strategy. Discussions focused on support for SMEs, digital skills, agriculture, housing, household finances, electric vehicles and sustainability.

In the process of sharing experiences, stories of outstanding resilience emerged: business models pivoting to exploit online retail opportunities, production lines integrating social distancing measures and employees retraining in digital skills to equip them, and their firms, for the future. A clear consensus that collaboration and innovation must be at the heart of the recovery came to the fore.

Ed Thurman, Lloyds Banking Group Ambassador for London, said: “There can be no downplaying the challenges facing Britain at the end of a difficult year for so many. With this series of events, we have looked at answering that challenge right across the UK. In London, it has been a privilege to hear such varied expert insight with a shared goal of tackling the city’s housing market to aid its economic recovery, and we will now work together to put the recommendations from our findings into practice.”

The politicians, businesses, campaigners and community leaders involved in the events made it clear that they want to see regionally focused recovery strategies, shaped by local voices for local economies, to ensure the right solutions are put in place.

António Horta-Osório, CEO of Lloyds Banking Group, added: “After nearly a year of huge upheaval for our personal and professional lives, we know that it’s more important than ever that we all take the time to listen. Given our depth of expertise and our presence across the UK’s nations and regions, we were able to bring together a vibrant network of businesses, industry experts and MPs so we could all listen and learn from each other’s experiences.

“A huge amount was discussed in the course of The Big Conversation, but a few themes became particularly clear. For me, the most striking of which was that while there were many shared experiences among businesses in certain sectors, the largest differences were in the experiences of businesses and communities in different geographies. This makes a tailored, regionally-led and regionally-informed approach to our national recovery essential.”

Eko Food is a leading manufacturer and supplier of authentic and high quality chilled and frozen ethnic ready meals, ambient sauces and African dry food based in London and the South East. Its founder, Christine Adeosun, pivoted the business after initially struggling to market her products and secure specialised ingredients from overseas during lockdown. The changes introduced improved the business’ efficiency. Christine explains: “Without trade shows, we turned to social media to share our products. We collaborated with UK producers to find more homegrown supplies which helped us cut our food miles, making our products even greener.”

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