The Mayor’s Outer London Commission: Report

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22. While this was little more than half (54%) of that of the ‘home counties’ as a whole (Essex, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Surrey and Kent), its was substantially larger than any individual county e.g. Beds & Herts £36,310 million, Essex £28,349 million, Surrey £26,992 million, Kent £26,519 million). The outer West &North West ONS London sub-region accounted for 47 per cent of the outer London total, with the outer East & North East contributing a further 27 per cent and outer South 26 per cent.

2.17 Between 1995 and 2007, outer London’s workplace based output grew at a significantly slower rate (86%) than that of inner London (138%), with the outer E & NE (72%) and outer S (76%) growing more slowly than outer W and NW (101%). This rate of growth was also slower than that recorded for the ‘home counties’ as a whole (103%), and at individual county level only Buckinghamshire had a slower growth rate (79%).

2.18 It must be borne in mind that these are workplace not residence based measures of output. The high levels of out-commuting by outer London residents to inner London and, to a lesser extent, to the ‘home counties’ (see below) create a rather different pattern. A rough proxy for this distribution is provided by that for average resident household income in Figure 2.1, which shows the boroughs towards the west of outer London as part of a more extensive distribution of wealthier districts across the western parts of the Outer Metropolitan Area, and conversely, the less affluent eastern boroughs as part of a similarly characterised area beyond London’s boundaries, especially towards the south east. However, as more detailed analysis later in this report demonstrates, as an indication of the incomes of different types of household, this broad brush impression can be misleading: a finer appreciation shows a much more complex picture.

Figure 2.1 Gross average weekly household income 2007/8


2.19 In workplace employment terms, Annex 3B shows that outer London accounted for two fifths (42% – 1.97 million) of London’s 4.67 million jobs in 2007. This was more than half (60%) of that of the ‘home counties’ as a whole (Essex, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Surrey and Kent), and was substantially larger than any individual county e.g. Kent 635,000, Essex 625,000, Surrey 506,000, Berkshire, 462,000)

2.20 Over time, employment growth in outer London has been relatively slow, but steady. This is in contrast to the more boom-to-bust cycle that characterises employment in inner London. In fact, employment has been largely steady across outer London for several decades, although employment growth over the two last economic cycles has been lower in outer London than in London as a whole.

2.21 Peak to peak across two economic cycles (1989 – 2001 and 2001 – 2007) outer London employment grew by an average 0.14 per cent pa or 2,800 pa, compared with 0.46 per cent pa in inner London23 (5,100 pa) and 1.23 per cent pa (36,000 pa) in the ‘home counties’. More recently growth has been slower, with outer London employment growing by 0.17 per cent or 3,200 pa 1989 – 2001 and 0.10 per cent pa (1,900 pa) 2001 – 2007. This compares with 0.49 per cent pa (5,300 pa) in inner London 1989 –2001 and 0.41 per cent pa (4,600 pa) 2001 – 2007, and in the ‘home counties’ respectively 1.71 per cent pa (50,000 pa) and 0.28 per cent pa (9,000 pa) over the same periods24. See Annex 3C for the ‘home counties’ employment figures 1989-2007.

How is employment growth distributed?

2.22 Figures 2.2 and 2.3 and Annex 3B show that over the two cycles spanning 1989 – 2007, outer London employment growth was far from homogeneous. At borough level:

• Five outer boroughs exceeded the pan-London total average growth for the period (8.9%) and the inner London average (8.6%): LB Hillingdon (50.6%); LB Richmond (41.0%); LB Barnet (18.4%); LB Haringey (13.5%) and LB Bromley (12.9%).

Of the remainder

• Four boroughs were above the outer London average (2.6%): LB Kingston (8.5%); LB Merton (7.4%); Redbridge (6.4%) and LB Harrow (6.3%).

• One borough was below the outer London average but had positive growth: LB Sutton (1.1%); and

• Nine outer boroughs had negative growth: LB Havering (-0.2%); LB Ealing (-4.9%); LB Bexley (-6.2%); LB Enfield (-6.4%); LB Brent (-11.0%); LB Croydon (-13.8%); LB Waltham Forest (-14.0%); LB Hounslow (-16.2%) and LB Barking & Dagenham (-27.1%).

2.23 Analysis of annual average change in employment in Figures 2.2 and 2.3 shows that for outer London as a whole there was a slight difference in employment growth rates between the cycles, 0.17 per cent pa 1989-2001, compared to 0.10 per cent pa 2001-2007, compared to the inner London respective averages of 0.46 per cent pa and 0.36 per cent pa respectively.

2.24 In outer London, the pattern at borough level however reveals significant variations. Five boroughs in outer west and south London (Harrow, Hillingdon, Kingston, Merton and Richmond) experienced positive average annual employment growth across both cycles. Employment growth rates were particularly strong across the two cycles 1989-2001 and 2001-2007 in Hillingdon (3% pa and 0.9% pa respectively) and Richmond (2% pa and 1.8% pa respectively). Four boroughs (Barnet, Havering, Redbridge and Sutton) experienced positive annual average employment growth 1989-2001 but negative annual average employment growth in 2001-2007. Three boroughs (Bromley, Ealing and Haringey) experienced negative annual average employment growth 1989-2001 but strong positive annual average employment growth in 2001-2007. Seven boroughs (Barking & Dagenham, Bexley, Brent, Croydon, Enfield, Hounslow and Waltham Forest) experienced negative average annual employment growth across both cycles.

Figure 2.2 Average annual change in employment over economic cycles 1989-2001 and 2001 – 2007

Source: Roger Tym & Partners, 2010

Figure 2.3 Average annual % change in employment over economic cycles

2.25 Figures 2.2 and 2.3 highlight this variation in employment growth. To some extent the variation in growth rates reflects the state of industries located in different boroughs. As noted below, some industries are concentrated in small geographies. Barking & Dagenham has historically been an area associated with manufacturing, an industry that has been in decline for decades, whereas employment in Richmond is much more heavily concentrated in finance and other service industries. These industries have been growing rapidly in the last three decades.

2.26 Figures 2.4a and 2.4b show that Borough level analysis can distort appreciation of the distribution of growth. A finer grained approach to London’s economic geography highlights what GLA Economics25 call the ‘pillars’ of the outer London economy focused on Heathrow and Croydon, together with ‘corridors’ of development that offer potential for employment growth and ‘wider urban areas’.

Figure 2.4a London’s Economic Geography

Figure 2.4b London’s Economic Geography: shares of employment in key economic activities 2002

2.27 Sectors shown in Figure 2.4b make up around 60 per cent of total employment in outer London (sectors including construction, hotels and parts of the public sector were not included in the analysis).

2.27 Sectors shown in Figure 2.4b make up around 60 per cent of total employment in outer London (sectors including construction, hotels and parts of the public sector were not included in the analysis).

2.28 Heathrow is notably dominated by passenger transport, freight and storage activities, reflecting the position of the airport in the local economy. As a result, the area has very small shares of employment in local activities and in schools and hospitals – employment that can be viewed as serving the needs of the local community.

In comparison the outer urban areas generally have larger shares of employees engaged in local activities and in schools and hospitals (further details on this below).

2.29 Also of note are relatively large shares of Croydon’s and south eastern London’s employment in financial services. Amongst outer London areas, creative jobs are most predominant in the western and south western zones and wholesale activities provide large shares of employment in the western wedge. The data shows that the Thames Gateway area of outer London was most reliant on traditional manufacturing activities as of 2002.

2.30 The 2007 Annual Business Inquiry shows that the two largest outer London areas of employment in absolute terms are Croydon (with 92,000 employees) and Heathrow and its immediate surrounds (with 91,000 employees). To put this in context, the City of London (which is, in terms of land mass, less than a sixth of the size of Croydon) accounts for over 300,000 employees (or just under a seventh of all the jobs in outer London). Other Outer Metropolitan centres (as defined in the London Plan) with large clusters of employment include Uxbridge (around 35,000 employees), Bromley (27,000 employees) and Kingston (23,000 employees). Most other Metropolitan and Major centres in outer London have fewer than 20,000 employee jobs.

To test this distribution further, GLA Economics have undertaken more detailed spatial analysis:

Employment in outer London town centres

2.31 Employment density in outer London is far lower than in central London and so much of the geographic variation in density within outer London is hidden if it is examined as part of employment density across London as a whole (Figure 2.6). Figure 2.5 below therefore examines employment density in outer London only and so uses a scale that explicitly shows the finer variation in employment across outer London. If employment in outer London was only located in town centres this map would show a number of darker patches that correspond to town centres. But it does not. There are many areas of employment that are outside town centres and sometimes the number of people working here is quite substantial. In total, around 60 per cent of outer London employees work in town centres and about 40 per cent work outside these centres.

Figure 2.5: Employment density in outer London by Middle Supper Output Area.

Source: GLA Economics

2.32 Places where people work outside centres include industrial parks like Park Royal, the Thameside sites in East London, and sites in Enfield. Or they are smaller industrial sites, such as in New Addington. They include hospitals, for example in Bromley Common, or universities, like in Coombe Hill. And around Heathrow airport there are a number of industrial sites and office parks. Office parks are not uncommon in West London.


2.33 This analysis was conducted using data from the Annual Business Inquiry at Middle Supper Output Area. This geography was used because there are over 900 MSOA, about 50 per cent more than wards. This helped increase the granularity of the analysis. MSOAs that contain any part of a town centre, including those that merely share a border, were assumed to be part of a town centre to allow for any instances where town centre boundaries follow retail patterns rather than class B uses as defined by DCLG (PPS4). All employment within these MSOAs was aggregated and assumed as ‘town centre’ employment. Any employment in the other MSOAs was not defined as town centre employment. This analysis did not attempt to estimate employment in individual town centres.

2.34 This is an important point for the Commission and perhaps one which runs counter to the perceptions of some of its consultees. Employment in outer London is not concentrated in a few small areas, but is actually spread widely across the region, with generally more people working in the western half. The Metropolitan Town Centres make up only a small amount of total employment but are significantly clusters relative to their surroundings. Together with the Major and District centres, the 119 town centres in outer London account for around 60 per cent of employment in outer London. The remaining 40 per cent is located outside these town centres, in industrial areas, business parks or in smaller local centres.

2.35 Employment in the town centres varies as much as across outer London as a whole. For example:

• Much of the employment in Croydon is split across three broad economic sectors. Financial and business services currently employ around 27,000. Public administration, education and health activities provide 25,000 jobs and the broad distribution, hotels and restaurants sector employs a further 21,000.

• In Uxbridge, public administration, education and health services account for around 10,500 jobs. The other largest sources of employment are the distribution, hotels and restaurants sector (just over 9,000 jobs) and business services (7,000 jobs).

• In Bromley, financial and business services accounts for 11,000 employees, with around half of these jobs in financial services. Distribution, hotels and restaurants account for almost 6,000 and only slightly less are in public administration, education and health.

• Finally, in Kingston, retail and wholesale is the largest sector of employment, providing around 7,000 jobs. Other economic activities in this area are public administration, education and health with 7,000 jobs and business services with around 4,000 jobs.

The GLA is advised to examine the types of work occurring in out of centre as well as these town centre locations and if possible to explore their relative growth rates.

What are the key clusters of economic activity in outer London?

2.36 While it is useful to examine the composition of employment in outer London this only compares areas against areas. It is also worthwhile to consider the location of employment within specific industries. By examining the location of specific industries it is possible to identify industrial clusters where significant numbers of employees within the industry are located. Some sectors benefit more than others by being located near to one another. These clusters may then continue to attract the same type of industry. Other sectors tend to locate together in areas where there is a natural advantage to them. For example, businesses moving large amounts of goods between cities may locate near a motorway because of the transport infrastructure usually, rather than because they benefit from being near one another.

2.37 It is possible to identify sectors that are significantly located within outer London. So even though employment in these may be small – causing the activity to ‘disappear’ when looking at borough-level data – a substantial proportion of it may be located there, as an sector cluster.

2.38 Data from the annual business inquiry shows that clusters of employees exist in outer London in a number of sectors. These range from manufacturing to insurance activities.26

2.39 West London is home to a number of industrial clusters, particularly in what is known as the ‘western wedge’ from Heathrow to central London. These include many ‘creative’ industries, including:

• Motion picture, video and television programme production, sound recording and music publishing activities;

• Programming and broadcasting activities; and

• Advertising and market research.

There are also a number of west London centres where Scientific Research and Development is concentrated.

2.40 It was noted above that many more people are employed in financial services in Croydon than in other parts of outer London. This is largely because of a significant cluster of insurance and reinsurance activities and a smaller cluster exists in nearby Bromley.
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