Canary Wharf – Catalyst for 30 Years of Growth in Tower Hamlets – 08.02.18

  • First report of its kind published by CEBR evaluating Canary Wharf’s economic impact on local area over three decades
  • With 120,000 jobs, Canary Wharf has become the largest single centre of employment in the UK, one and a half times the employment numbers of London Heathrow Airport
  • Canary Wharf supports a total of 398,198 jobs across the UK
  • Canary Wharf Group’s supply chain initiative has placed £1.59 billion of contracts with east London SMEs – 16 times the rate of other major economic centres like London Heathrow and King’s Cross
  • MP hails “huge positive economic and social impact” on Tower Hamlets

Canary Wharf Group today celebrates thirty years as developer and custodian of the world-renowned Canary Wharf estate, which has turned the Docklands area of East London into a thriving business, residential and retail hub where 120,000 people work.

Following the decline of the docks during the 1960s and 1970s, the area suffered for years as it struggled to cope with the shifting economy and poor transport links. With the economic heart of the local community gone, poverty levels soared; at one point, the Isle of Dogs reached 50% unemployment. From the outset, Canary Wharf Group understood that the success of the development project not only depended on good transport and exceptional buildings, but also establishing itself at the heart of the local community and economy , so that local residents could also benefit from its success.

In a report published today, based on analysis produced by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), Canary Wharf Group lays out the significant benefits that its regeneration of the former docklands has delivered for the local economy, including:

  • Total employment numbers in Tower Hamlets have grown to 280,000, 199% increase since 1987 with 149,000 jobs in the Isle of Dogs cluster
  • Tower Hamlets’ economy has grown by nearly 4 times the rate of the rest of London – there is now £28 billion of economic output at local level compared to £5 billion in 1987, an increase of 466% compared to the London average growth of 123%
  • Generating over £1.59 billion of business for local small and medium sized companies since 1997
  • Companies based at Canary Wharf account for 73% of Tower Hamlets Gross Value Added (GVA)
  • If Canary Wharf had never existed economic activity in Tower Hamlets would have been 69% lower and employment 59% lower than it is today
  • In the past 10 years the unemployment rate in Tower Hamlets has nearly halved from 13.4% to 6.9% whereas unemployment in London as a whole was down by a quarter over the same period
  • Tower Hamlets now generates £9.5 billion in taxation annually compared to just £1.8 billion in 1987
  • Significant investment from Canary Wharf Group in new transport links has been key in the form of the Docklands Light Railway and the Jubilee line, improving the connectivity of this formerly isolated part of London

The report demonstrates how Canary Wharf has had a transformative impact on East London, more widely than just its direct gross value added (GVA), delivering benefits for the wider community. The Group’s support of local sports clubs, community groups and charities has totalled £15 million in recent years, with local businesses in Tower Hamlets securing over £484 million of contracts and works opportunities though Canary Wharf Group’s business spend and support.

Other key achievements in the report include:

  • The Estate hosts over 200 diverse and culturally inspired arts events each year
  • Canary Wharf Group has achieved 100% zero carbon electricity in areas managed by the Group since 2012
  • Canary Wharf is home to four urban parks as part of 20 acres of public realm
  • Canary Wharf now has 940,000 sq ft of retail, with more than 300 shops cafes, bars and restaurants, for all to enjoy with over 49.1 million visitors in 2017.

Sir George Iacobescu, Chairman and Chief Executive of Canary Wharf Group, said: “We have built 17 million sq ft in over 40 buildings, 3 million sq ft in 19 more buildings are now under way and there are 32 buildings planned totalling 6-7 million sq ft. I am incredibly proud of what Canary Wharf has become. Our ambition was to transform a declining docklands to a thriving centre for business and culture, to shift London’s centre of gravity from West to East and raise the bar for urban spaces and what they can achieve. Canary Wharf has come of age, but with 10.5 million sq ft of developments under way or in the pipeline, including 5,400 homes, our work is not done yet. 30 years on, it remains our purpose to create great places which inspire positive impact.”

Jim Fitzpatrick, Member of Parliament for Poplar and Limehouse, said: “30 years since the start of construction, it is clear that Canary Wharf has had an unrivalled  positive economic and social impact on Tower Hamlets and East London. The company has worked hard to integrate the project with the surrounding area and to engage with local businesses and the local community. I know Sir George and the team at Canary Wharf Group are committed to working together with local people to tackle the issues that remain – going far beyond what would normally be expected from a developer.”

Click here to read 30 Years of Canary Wharf – Local Impact report


For further information, please contact:

Press Office
Canary Wharf Group plc
T: 020 7418 2166

Notes to Editors

About Canary Wharf Group

Canary Wharf Group plc has overseen the largest urban regeneration project ever undertaken in Europe, designing and building more than 17m sq ft of London real estate, which now houses local and international companies and renowned retailers.

The Canary Wharf Estate is a major retail destination comprising around 1m sq ft across five shopping malls, including the award-winning leisure development, Crossrail Place, housing one of London’s most stunning roof gardens. It also has world-class, year-round arts and events programme offering over 200 diverse and culturally inspiring events performed throughout the Estate.

Canary Wharf Group is a wholly owned joint venture between Brookfield Property Partners and the Qatar Investment Authority.
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