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LONDON-LONDON is still the best place to do business in Europe, according to a poll of senior executives in 501 of Europe’s top companies. Of all the major European cities, London was seen as having the best qualified staff, best access to markets and best external transport links. Paris came second and Frankfurt third.

But Cushman & Wakefield Healey & Baker’s annual European Cities Monitor survey found that in terms of quality of life, London has slipped from seventh place in the rankings to a lowly 16. Quality of life in London is now deemed to be the same as in Manchester and worse than in Dublin, Lyon, Rome, Munich and Copenhagen. Barcelona, Paris and Geneva topped the quality of life table.

Barcelona’s strong showing follows a stead improvement over recent years. David Hutchings, Head of European Research at C&W/H&B said: “The vibrant Spanish cities of Madrid and Barcelona have crept up the league tables over the years to pose serious competition as business locations. It is no coincidence that these two cities are perceived to have done more than any other European city to promote their image and to improve what they have to offer to companies looking to locate there.”

And following the introduction of the congestion charge in central London, 20% of those interviewed said that such traffic control measures would ultimately make them move outside of the zone while a further 7% said they would leave the city altogether. “This response has serious implications for European cities looking to reduce traffic in fume-clogged city centres,” said Hutchings. “Company activity is the lifeblood of many of these areas, and the results of our survey show that city councils need to be careful not to drive through any traffic-curbing measures without taking into consideration the bigger picture.”

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