Employment and Prosperity in the Borough

Providing access to suitable employment will be key for Newham’s residents over the next few decades. The right employment policies, combined with the overall environment and community amenities provided in the Borough, will encourage people to stay in the area.

London City Airport provides some employment opportunities for Newham residents, but unfortunately it does not even provide the baseline amount that was agreed as a condition of planning permission. According to the London City Airport’s annual report,1 as of Dec. 2010, 27% of the airport’s employees lived in Newham, while 63% lived in the ‘local area’ (covering Newham, Tower Hamlets, Greenwich, Lewisham, Bexley, Southwark, Barking & Dagenham, Havering, Redbridge, Waltham Forest, Hackney, Epping Forest.) But the Section 106 Planning Agreement for the Airport (outlined on the LCA Consultative Committee website) states the following regarding jobs:

The Airport seeks to ensure that at least 70% of the jobs at the Airport (including its own employees) are filled by residents in the local labour catchment area as defined in its 2009 Section 106 Planning Agreement…including at least 35% filled by residents of Newham.2

This means that the airport isn’t meeting local employment targets set by the planning agreement. And some experts have questioned how well airports in general provide their local communities with jobs. The Aviation Environment Federation has reported how between 1998 and 2004, despite a 30% rise in air passengers, the total employment attributed to airports and airlines actually went down.

Moving beyond direct employment on the airport site, LCA makes much of its wider contribution to the local economy. The airport says it acts as an attractor for investment in the area, and that the airport has been ‘at the forefront of revitalising the area over the past 24 years, injecting wealth into the local economy and supporting the creation of jobs for local people...’3 But several studies have shown that there are more important factors in the relocation of businesses than transport or aviation links, for example workforce skills and suitable sites. One survey of 200 executives asked what factors were most important in deciding choice of location; only 30% mentioned, ‘transport links internationally,’ and 7 other factors were considered more important.4

Therefore, while airports like LCA do create some jobs for the local community, it is not clear how beneficial this particular model of development is for the people living immediately around the site, or whether another model of development might provide a higher number of jobs without the negative environmental impacts on the area.

 

 

3 Integral to Growth: The Economic Significance of London City Airport’: http://www.londoncityairport.com/downloads/Integral%20to%20Growth.pdf

4 AEF Report: Airport Jobs: False Hopes, Cruel Hoax by Brendon Sewill (March 2009): http://www.aef.org.uk/uploads/Airport_jobs___false_hopes_cruel_hoax.pdf Report cited was by Cushman and Wakefield.