Working from home previously meant a day off; now it means everyone is at work every day and it costs less in overheads. Making a profit so you can afford to give back now means reinvesting all the profits for your business’s survival and to protect staff. Having a field day means being a PPE importer, warehouse owner or logistics group.
The greatest city in the world has swung from a scene from Vanilla Sky to a Walworth Road closing time brawl; from Wednesdays at Pascha Ibiza to The Great Escape.
London, named after the Celtic Lowonidonjon ‘Flowing River’, reflects the river’s tides: fast and slow, deadly and beautiful, and always capable of closing its gates in time of peril. That was 2020. So what do I predict for 2021?
Brexit will hurt us, as there is no such thing as a ‘free’ trade deal; Covid-19 resurgences and restrictions will be with us for the entire year; limited travel will make us feel frustrated and isolated; prices will rise and interest rates will follow. Taxes will increase. Insolvency practitioners will be in demand, as will anyone involved with testing and distribution.
Oxford University and AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine has been created by us and will be sold at cost to the rest of the world, who will reap the rewards.
Being made as a non-profit product it could save millions of lives, epitomising Britain at its best. But, as my professor father would say, no good deed goes unpunished – that was the Scotsman in him. My view is that philanthropy is the true measure of responsibility.
With Britain’s genius in creating the Oxford vaccine and the need for the kudos of global generosity post-Brexit to assist in our trade deals as we recover from Covid-19, we already have good reason to be proud and hopeful.
My New Year’s resolution is that I am going to concentrate on offsetting Residential Land’s carbon footprint, making it net zero by the end of 2021 and not 2030. Current plans for the new C Level EPC rating for the private rented sector to be effective by 2028 are too far away and very expensive to achieve.
We need to be the sort of city that allows a tree to be taken down to enable 100 homes to be built but only if we plant 100 more equivalent trees where needed.
Our capital needs to have a global – not local – leader to champion its successes, promote diversity and history side by side, and above all to act in the best interest of all its people and their livelihoods, not just for their own political agenda.
We need a city where we encourage every business to connect to London’s services and finances and skills, not force them to leave by punitive rates, traffic chaos, strangulation by control of free enterprise and lack of investment in public transport.
London must lead the way out of Europe, Covid-19 and unemployment. It is our duty to push those we voted for to pull their socks up and get on with it.
As the Special Air Service’s motto says “who dares wins” and for those who are not in a position to dare, remember, it is not how fast you are or how strong you are, it’s all about how quickly you get back up after being knocked down and try again.
Bruce Ritchie is chief executive of Residential Land