Condeco CEO issues challenge to government to reduce wasted space, as FOI request reveals true extent of problem
The chief executive of Condeco, the specialist in workspace utilisation technology, has issued a call to government to act on the growing issue of wasted commercial space in Greater London. Statistics from the Department for Communities & Local Government (DCLG) show that from 1998 onwards, 58% of London boroughs have seen vacancy rates either increase or stay the same.
What is most concerning for businesses in the London region is that this rising figure, coming at a time when commercial rents are soaring, has gone unchecked since 2006, at which time the DCLG stopped collating the data due to budget cuts.
Responding to a Freedom of Information request from Condeco on why the government hasn’t published vacancy rates for the past 8 years, the Greater London Authority said:“The DCLG don’t publish a lot of the data they used to. They made major cuts on more than one occasion as they tried to prioritise following funding cuts.”
One of the worst performing boroughs is the City of London, which has seen a 100% increase in vacant commercial properties during the period from 1998 up until when the DCLG stopped publishing data. Some of the other worst-offenders include:
Hammersmith & Fulham: 44%
Kensington & Chelsea: 200%
Paul Statham, CEO, Condeco, is astounded at the lack of intelligence shown by this government: “Businesses in London are increasingly coming under strain from high rental costs, yet across the capital we’re seeing new build after new build, approved by the government as a means of easing the burden on the city as demand for space increases.
“Yet simultaneously we’re also seeing vacancy rates increasing, whilst having this data removed from the public eye. If the space is there, why is the government not encouraging people to use it, with tax breaks for companies who can consolidate their real estate and free up space for other businesses for example? There is a real problem here that David Cameron needs to address, before we build more and more in our already crowded city.”
Condeco are currently waiting for a response from several key government figures.
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