Mayor’s jobs boost for revamped Leicester Square, but 200,000 jobs claim disputed
Thu, 24 May 2012
The £15.3m makeover of Leicester Square in London’s West End has already delivered more than 1,000 new jobs, providing a massive boost to the UK’s centre for global movie premieres as well as the surrounding economy, Mayor Boris Johnson announced yesterday.
Leicester Square re-opens today [24 May] following a 17-month transformation. It welcomes around 250,000 tourists a day and it is hoped it can host even more world film premieres, fighting off competition from European cities.
Recently, private investment into the area surrounding Leicester Square has included a flagship M&M store, employing 170 people following a £10m investment from confectionary brand Mars, and the 192-room W Hotel, which opened in February 2011, creating 200 jobs.
Next month sees the completion of the £15m redevelopment of the historic Hippodrome into a mega casino and leisure attraction, which expects to attract up to 12,000 visitors with a staff of 500.
However, the Mayor failed to defend his claims to be creating 200,000 new jobs over the next four years when challenged at City Hall yesterday by newly-elected London Assembly members Stephen Knight of the Liberal Democrats and Labour's Andrew Dismore.
Speaking after the first Mayor’s Question Time since Johnson was re-elected, Stephen Knight said: “When you examine the figures it is clear that Boris Johnson is claiming 104,000 of these new jobs would be created through his housing programme, however in reality there will be only about 25,000 people employed each year.
“In order to claim this as 100,000 new jobs the Mayor has counted each person employed per year as a new job. This is as daft as saying the Mayor of London himself will be holding four jobs over the next four years.”