Mayor calls Meeting with Business Leaders to Discuss Coronavirus
20th March 2020

Mayor calls Meeting with Business Leaders to Discuss Coronavirus

  • Sadiq is determined to do all he can to protect London’s businesses and workers from the impact of the crisis.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, held an emergency meeting of business leaders 16 March, to hear more about their concerns over coronavirus and identify measures that can be put in place to protect employers and workers.

The meeting at City Hall was attended by senior leaders from industry bodies and a range of business sectors as the Mayor vowed to do everything he can to support the capital during the coronavirus crisis.

The Mayor is aware that Londoners in every sector are concerned about the impact coronavirus will have on their livelihoods and will be calling on the government to support councils and banks in offering rent deferrals and mortgage holidays. He also urged the government to provide a higher level of statutory sick pay to all workers forced to self-isolate, including those who are low-paid, self-employed or working in the gig economy.

Sadiq’s economic team has been monitoring the impact of the virus on London’s business community and reporting back to him on key issues since the start of the outbreak.

But the Mayor also wants to hear directly from business leaders so he has a clear up-to-the-minute picture of what is happening, what he can do to help them and what more the Government should be doing.

Attendees at the meeting included representatives from the Federation of Small Businesses, the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry and London First.

The Mayor wanted to hear from businesses of all sizes, particularly those in in the travel, tourism, hospitality, retail and leisure sectors, who are reporting significant and growing impacts from coronavirus.

Sadiq also wanted to understand more from small businesses and those who rely on income from non-essential purchases as these are also under particular pressure.

The Mayor is determined to keep all Londoners informed about coronavirus and is in regular contact with Public Health England, the NHS in London and the Chief Medical Officer.

He has ensured Transport for London travel network remains as safe as possible for Londoners by commissioning an enhanced cleansing regime and use of an advanced anti-viral cleaning fluid.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I have vowed to be not just London’s most pro-business Mayor but also for London to be the best place to work – there has never been a more important time for me to stand up for workers and employers.

“The capital is in the grip of an unprecedented public health crisis and this is having a huge impact on workers and businesses of all shapes and sizes.

“I am particularly concerned about the impact of coronavirus on Londoners in the lowest paid jobs and on small and medium-sized businesses particularly those in the hospitality and tourism sectors – but there is no doubt that workers and businesses across all sectors will have huge concerns and I want to do whatever I can to help them.

“London is the business capital of the world. While it is too early to accurately predict the longer-term impacts for London, there is no doubt that those that work in London as well as businesses in London need support to help them now and for them to recover to continue to power our economy for many decades to come.”

Richard Burge, Chief Executive of London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said:

“Whether it be social or economic, coronavirus is and will continue to have a huge impact upon London’s businesses and economy. It’s vital that both local and national government come together with the business community to do what is possible to mitigate that impact, for the good of residents in both the capital and country.”

Jasmine Whitbread, CEO of London First, said: “The health and well-being of employees comes first and businesses across the capital will be as adaptable and flexible as possible. While there will be an economic impact in the UK and beyond, London has shown remarkable resilience in the face of external challenges in the past. We’d urge employers and Londoners to heed the latest medical advice.”

Rowena Howie, Federation of Small Businesses London Policy Chair said: “Now is the time for everyone to step up and support the heartbeat of London, the small businesses, before many are lost as a result of the coronavirus crisis.  We call on all large businesses to pay their invoices with immediacy and for the landlords of London to do right by their small businesses in their hour of need and support their tenants with extreme supportive measures that will do untold good for not just businesses but the employees that work within them.”

Frances O’Grady, General Secretary, TUC rep said: “Working people’s jobs and livelihoods must be protected through this crisis. This requires a joint approach from London, local and national government, unions and business. We need bold solutions from ministers, from better sick pay for all to wages subsidies so businesses can keep paying their staff.”

London’s economic influence extends across the UK so the negative impact of coronavirus will be felt across the country. London trades more with the rest of the UK than it does with the rest of the world.

The trade and supply chains linking London and the rest of the UK economy mean that for every pound of consumption or investment in London, 24p of production is generated elsewhere in the UK.

he Mayor continues to offer support for businesses of all shapes and sizes through his London Growth Hub – an online resource that brings together the capital’s vast business support offer into a single hub.

The Hub has launched a new portal to support London-based businesses and employers to manage and mitigate their exposure to coronavirus.

The Mayor hosted a similar meeting at the end of last month with senior officials and health specialists from across the capital to review and ensure the city is fully prepared to respond to coronavirus.