Up to 50,000 West End retail workers are at risk of losing their jobs due to lack of visitors, a Tory MP warned today.
City of London and Westminster MP Nickie Aiken said the loss of international visitors had had a major impact on London’s economy.
It comes after swathes of central London have remained calm after the lockdown is lifted and Transport for London faces significant losses as city workers continue to work from home.
The district is set to lose a third of its retail and hospitality workforce and more than £ 5 billion in retail sales by the end of the year, according to estimates companies.
Ms Aiken told BBC Radio 4’s Today program: ‘Almost half of the £ 10bn spent annually in the West End comes from foreign travelers and then from the lack of office workers who have not returned to their office since March.
“This has a huge effect on the overall turnover of the West End stores and hotels.
“About 70 to 80 percent – basically you envision about 50,000 job losses in the West End retail sector.”
The former head of Westminster City Council said there had been “a huge drop in confidence” in the perceived safety of public transport.
She added: ‘We have to get this back, we have to get the business, the Mayor of London and the government to work together to give that confidence to the people. “
Ms Aiken called for caution, saying the return to work had to be done “reasonably” and added, “I’m not saying we should all be back on the subway at the same time at 7 am. It must be staggered.
“We have to make sure that people can come in at different times, maybe a few days a week. Just coming back to the office a few times a week will make a huge difference to the local economy. ”
When asked if officials should return to work, she replied, “Everyone when it’s safe to do so, if they feel they can come back, if companies get the social distancing situation under control. in their offices, then yes, we must get back to normal as possible.
“But taking into account that we still have this virus, it’s still there, but we really have to start coming back, even a few days a week will make a huge difference.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan called on Boris Johnson to take action to save the West End. However, the mayor has also been criticized for not doing enough to energize the capital.
The drop in visitors and workers has also forced TfL to ask the government for another major bailout as the network faces a potential funding black hole of up to £ 5 billion.