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Confidence returning to businesses in London

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With London firms expected to start hiring again in the next six months, there could be demand for large office premises in the capital.

Research conducted by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and KPMG found that 61 per cent of London firms would be hiring as normal during the first half of 2013, compared to just 16 per cent who said this in July.

The numbers reporting a recruitment freeze fell from 51 per cent to 31 per cent, and those making redundancies shrank from 31 per cent to 21 per cent, over the same period.

While the study highlighted a certain amount of lingering caution about the overall health of the economy, 40 per cent of firms said they feel more optimistic for the coming six months.

Some 92 per cent of companies surveyed described London as a ‘good’ or ‘very good’ place to conduct business, up from 86 per cent in July.

The vast majority of firms (92 per cent) said they thought staging the Olympic Games this year would help promote London internationally.

Indeed a quarter of those surveyed said they had benefited directly from the city hosting the world’s biggest sporting event.

Sara Parker, CBI director for London, said it is “really encouraging news” for London that the hiring freeze seen earlier in the year has begun to thaw and more companies are now getting back to recruiting as normal.

“While firms are still cautious about the economy, 2012 has been an upbeat year for the capital and many firms are feeling buoyed by our Olympic success and are positive about London as a place to invest and do business,” she stated.

“Now we need London companies to use the springboard of the Games to break into new high-growth markets. The support of the Mayor to promote the capital’s businesses around the globe will be crucial to this, but firms also want to see urgent action to improve airport capacity.”

Richard Reid, London chairman of KPMG, said the capital is becoming “an even more attractive place to invest and do business”, especially with the added glow of a successful Olympics under the city’s belt.

“Transport is vital to the capital’s strength, so it’s good to see that firms think that most areas are improving.”