Footfall in London’s West End has ticked up in the last week on the back of the government announcement encouraging people back into the office. 

Data from the Heart of London Business Alliance, which represents 500 businesses and 100 property owners in the West end, found a 10% increase in footfall in recent days, with Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square demonstrating the strongest week-on-week figures. 

Despite this, year-on-year activity remains down by 65%. 

Ros Morgan, chief executive of Heart of London Business Alliance, said: “Since the government’s announcement on the 1st August encouraging office workers to return to their workplace at their employers’ discretion, there has been a clear 10% increase in visitors to the West End and this has enabled almost 100 shops to open last week.

“Furthermore, the importance of returning office workers is evident as shopping districts such as Jermyn Street have had a notably lower week-on-week footfall increase than areas such as Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square, which have a more diverse range of visitors.” 

Morgan added: “Because of this, we welcome the new government guidance around encouraging people to have the option to return to their workplace, which will be crucial to the UK’s economic recovery. However, to ensure that this new guidance has a meaningful impact on the economy, the government needs to actively encourage businesses to safely open their workplaces to their employees, with social distancing measures in place, to give them the option to work there, whilst encouraging workers to use public transport in a safe and responsible way.”