Sunak Urges Londoners Back to Work to Help City’s Pubs and Shops

U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said Londoners should return to their workplaces and help spur the capital’s economy by visiting local pubs, shops and restaurants.

In the week data showed the British economy contracted more than 20% in the second quarter, Sunak told the Evening Standard it’s vital for residents and commuters to start “driving London’s powerhouse economy forward.”

Sunak Urges Londoners Back to Work to Help City’s Pubs and Shops

“We’ve taken a huge hit, so it’s crucial each of us now starts to do our bit,” Sunak said. “We all have a vital role to play in our recovery and making sure our economy bounces back as quickly as possible.”

London, with a population of 9 million, produces just over a fifth of the U.K.’s total output, making it a key element of the government’s push to kickstart the economy after the coronavirus lockdown. But there are growing concerns that many office workers have become used to working from home -- a trend officials say is holding up the recovery in London and other towns and cities.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan warned this week that businesses are facing a “perfect storm” from the virus as a result of “home working, the shutdown in domestic and international tourism, and a public transport system with severely constrained capacity.”

While infections in London are currently lower than in other parts of the U.K., the capital was initially hit hardest by the virus, with a major antibody study this week suggesting 13% of the capital’s residents had contracted Covid-19 -- twice as high as the national figure.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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