Autumn Statement paints positive picture for London – we now need the Government to deliverNovember 23, 2016
While the Chancellor’s first Autumn Statement offered no big surprises, there were positive announcements on key London First priorities.
London First is campaigning hard for the capital to start building the homes it needs through ongoing policy work and the Fifty Thousand Homes campaign. Today’s announcement that £3.15 billion has been allocated to build 90,000 new affordable homes in London is hugely welcome. We are looking forward to working with the Mayor of London to see these plans realised.
The Chancellor also committed to use new infrastructure investment to unlock land for housing where the need is most acute. London First believes that investing in rail links such as Crossrail 2, a DLR extension to Thamesmead and an extension of the Bakerloo line would be positive steps towards achieving this goal. Improving connectivity for homes and businesses along these transport lines is vital, as well as unlocking more land for homes, jobs and growth for London.
Another positive signal for business came with the announcement of the £23 billion National Productivity Investment Fund, which will be spent on transport, digital communications, research and development, and housing. A move towards a full-fibre network in the UK is also a welcome step.
On business rates, the 100% relief on new fibre infrastructure for a five year period is welcome. However, this move is not sufficient to reform our broken business rates system. While business is happy to pay its way, London First believes that current plans risk an unnecessary shock to hundreds of companies.
Finally, the government is making positive steps on devolution. At a time when national government should have its eyes firmly focused on Brexit, greater autonomy must be handed to cities and regions across the UK to decide how funds raised from local businesses and residents are spent.
Reacting to the statement, John Dickie, London First’s Director of Strategy and Policy, said: ‘Investing in, and improving, the UK’s infrastructure will help drive productivity and growth across the country. London has the potential to step up its economic performance and we’d urge government to ensure we remain competitive on a global scale, with London playing its part in a stronger economy for the UK as a whole.’