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Lack of affordable housing putting London's scientific community at risk

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Lack of affordable housing putting London's scientific community at risk

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities

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Image: London via Shutterstock

A lack of decent and affordable housing in London is undermining the capital’s position as a hub for the flourishing life sciences sector, according to a new paper published today.

The paper, which is being presented to the London Health Board today, highlights a lack of affordable accommodation in relation to other British and international locations and recommends some solutions, including construction of affordable campus-style apartments.

Promoting growth and jobs in the life sciences sector in London was identified as one of the board's priorities when it was set up in 2013.

The sector in the UK consists of around 5,000 companies in the pharmaceutical, medical technology, medical biotechnology and industrial biotechnology markets and employs over 175,000 people.

Many pharmaceutical and medical biotechnology sites are concentrated in the South and East of England including London, and this area has an estimated 50% of all UK medical biotechnology companies.

But the North West of England and Scotland are also popular locations, areas where housing is much easier to find and fund.

Professor Sir Robert Lechler, a LHB member and executive director of King’s Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre, said: “London is a world city and life science is an international industry. However, affordability of housing was a common concern when stakeholders were asked about their views of the capital.

“We must remain competitive, both for companies and for their employees. London is still not realising its potential market share compared to other centres of excellence such as San Francisco and Boston.

"Without decent affordable housing many experienced professionals could be discouraged from settling here with their families, and those starting out on their careers could be put off due to the high cost of rental accommodation.”

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