City Hall has defended the capital’s reputation as a tech hub after a Samsung boss chose to locate a new fund in Berlin because London’s “not fun” “unless you are really rich”.
Felix Petersen, managing director of Samsung Next Europe, told the Times that the cost of housing was a major factor in the decision to base the $150m (£117m) fund in Germany.
But a spokesperson for the Mayor of London’s office has hit back, claiming that several of the world’s biggest tech companies are “proud to call the city their home”.
“In the past year alone, Apple, Google and Facebook have pledged long-term investment into London, saying that the capital is leading place for technology and innovation,” the spokesperson said.
Petersen told the Times that in Berlin you can do stuff without much money: “You can bike around or sit in the park. There are uncommercialised zones. You can experiment and play around with technology in a more relaxed environment.
“In London, the cost of living, the cost of getting around and the infrastructure mean it’s not a fun place to live unless you are really rich, especially for young people.”
He added that there are no reasonably priced neighbourhoods left in London and that it was increasingly hard to build a company in the city.
The City Hall spokesperson said the “the Mayor recognises that the cost of living is a problem”.
The average house price in London is now £483,000, according to the ONS, pushing up rent and making it harder for young people to get on the housing ladder.