City centres will not be the same again after pandemic, Sir Martin Sorrell says

6 August 2020, 08:49 | Updated: 7 August 2020, 08:34

By Adrian Sherling

Advertising mogul Sir Martin Sorrell has told LBC that city centres such as London will be less attractive to live and work in in the future.

Britain is trailing behind other European countries in getting workers back in the office, with just 34% back at their desks.

And Sir Martin, who previously ran WPP, the world's largest advertising company, told LBC that the government will have to sort out their "confusing" policy on public transport if they want to get people back into city centres.

Speaking to Tom Swarbrick, he said: "What we see in the internal surveys we do is a significant shift in working patterns. In the future, there will have to be more flexibility.

"People are saying they want to work fewer days in the office, they want flexibility of commuting time. They don't necessarily want to come into the office on crowded public transport.

"And a lot of people are saying they want to look at where they live. They may find the city centres more oppressive.

"I think city centres are going to become less attractive, suburban locations may be cheaper and more accessible.

"We are going to see a significant change in working patterns and working from home will be equally efficient - or even more efficient."

Martin Sorrell told Tom Swarbrick that London may not be as attractive after the pandemic
Martin Sorrell told Tom Swarbrick that London may not be as attractive after the pandemic. Picture: PA / LBC

Mr Sorrell was critical of the decision to increase the congestion charge, saying that is holding people back from going back into the office.

He said: "Local government policy is confusing. You have a congestion charge which went up from £10 to £15. Maybe it should have gone the other way to £5 or even have been eradicated.

"I know private transport causes congestion, but a lot of our people don't want to get on public transport because of the fear of infection."

Hear his full fascinating take in full at the top of the page.