It can only be good that this year Harrow won the Best All Round Small Business Friendly Borough credit for its work to promote business start-ups and growth.
“This is now the best time to set up shop in Harrow as we embark on the largest regeneration programme for a generation” said Cllr Keith Ferry (middle), portfolio holder for business, planning and regeneration.
However, Harrow has a very clear identity within the West London that consists of other six borough council areas of Barnet, Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham, Hillingdon and Hounslow, and therefore shares the challenges for West London.
A very recent West London Economic Assessment, carried out by the Peter Brett Associates LLP for West London Economic Prosperity Board, has identified a number of issues that have implications for Harrow’s business growth.
The PBA report says that there is a mismatch between the skills of the West London population and the needs of businesses, likely to become more acute over the next ten years and as the population continues to increase, this has positive as well as potentially negative economic consequences.
“The lack of affordable housing in particular risks putting a brake on economic growth” emphasises the report.
Perhaps the Tory opposition could realise the unhelpfulness of their opposition to the housing developments in Harrow.
The report alerts “West London could end up with an entrenched low-skill workforce servicing wealthier (central London) populations”.
Comparing West London with other London areas, the report highlights that:
- West London is about London average for business growth but well behind North and East London
- West London is about London average for Knowledge Based Economy employment but behind North and East London
- Unemployment in West London is not falling as quickly as elsewhere in London