Morning rush hour across London Bridge at dawn. Bright sunlight and Tower Bridge in the background

Centre for cities: Intervention needed to get workers back in the city

With the Government’s launch of Eat Out to Help Out at the start of August, it was hoped that city centres would see an increase in footfall, but there is very little movement in the figures.

Using data from mobile phones, Centre for Cities have concluded that Eat Out to Help Out has had very little impact on how many people are entering city centres for work.

Seaside towns have seen the largest increase in worker footfall when comparing late July to early August, with Bournemouth and Southend’s footfall increasing by 22 and 23 percentage points respectively.

Large cities haven’t seen the same level of growth, with only a 3% increase seen in London and a 6% in Manchester.

The average increase of worker footfall across all UK cities currently sits at 0% according to Locomizer.

Centre for Cities’ Chief Executive Andrew Carter said:

“Good weather and the Eat Out to Help Out scheme have helped increase the number of visitors to city and town centres. But a question mark remains over whether the footfall increase that we have seen this summer can be sustained into the autumn without the good weather and Government incentive – particularly with so many people still working from home.  

“Shops, restaurants and pubs face an uncertain future while office workers remain at home. So, in the absence of a big increase in people returning to the office, the Government must set out how it will support the people working in city centre retail and hospitality who could well find themselves out of a job by Christmas.”

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