Brexit 'has slowed population growth of London to lowest rate in a decade'

Brexit has slowed London’s population growth to the lowest rate for more than a decade and caused a risk of “significant damage” to the capital’s economy, a report warned today.

The Centre for London think tank said booming creative industries had helped create a record number of jobs but said the slow-down of people coming to the capital could harm future growth as well as public services - writes

The warning came as two major businesses appealed for more action to reduce the harm to trade from a “bad” Brexit. Pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca said patients could miss out on vital medicines unless it made preparations for a no-deal exit from the EU.

Rail freight firms called for customs checkpoints at terminals across Britain to avoid “significant disruption and delays”.

In its quarterly London Intelligence review, the Centre for London said the capital was doing well with the number of jobs hitting a record of almost six million.

Overall employment rose 1.9 per cent to 5.9 million in the year to June, suggesting London’s economy is still expanding.

The creative sector — such as advertising, film making and fashion that London has traditionally dominated — grew by seven per cent, only matched by the property sector.

However, they cautioned that slower population growth appeared to be driven by increasing numbers of young professionals moving away to get on the property ladder. Last year 106,000 more Londoners left the capital than arrived.

Silviya Barrett, research manager at the Centre, said people would be making a mistake to think that a fall in population would mean good news for housebuyers.

“While some might interpret the drop in migration and population growth as easing the pressure on infrastructure and public services, in the longer term, it has the potential to threaten their viability and significantly damage our economy,” she said.

The analysis found net migration from abroad to London was down 34per cent, while there was a 14per cent increase in people moving to other parts of the UK.

Figures for the first three months of 2018 showed 16 per cent fewer foreign nationals registered for national insurance numbers than in 2017.

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