This week, members of the London First team met with key policymakers in Westminster to champion the priorities for London business.
We had a positive meeting with the Chairman of the Conservative Party, Brandon Lewis, highlighting the priorities for getting our capital Brexit-ready: accelerating housebuilding, attracting global talent and developing local skills, and delivering Crossrail 2. We look forward to bringing him together with our Partner members to discuss these priorities in greater detail in the next few months.
We also met with Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, to discuss the Airports National Policy Statement. London First initiated the Let Britain Fly campaign in 2013 to call for airport capacity expansion in London and the South East. We continue to make the case that Parliament must back the decision to expand Heathrow Airport, and make the most of existing aviation capacity. We look forward to hearing more on this from the Aviation Minister, Baroness Sugg, at our reception next month.
Ahead of Labour’s launch of its affordable housing green paper this week, we met with Shadow Housing Secretary, John Healey, to consider what needs to happen for London to start building the 66,000 new homes it needs. We discussed our call for Government to invest more money and for London’s boroughs to make better use of their land by embracing the opportunities afforded by high-density housing. We look forward to bringing our members together with the Shadow Housing Secretary in the near future.
Having made the case for London’s local authorities to take a look at their Green Belt land to ensure they are protecting the right spaces – rather than disused urban land – we also met with Siobhan McDonagh, MP for Mitcham and Morden, to discuss the work she is doing to champion this issue. There is no single solution to the capital’s housing crisis; increasing supply requires action on multiple fronts. We are encouraging policymakers at all levels to consider the solutions we’re putting forward.
Looking ahead to next week, we are hosting the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, at a roundtable dinner. The event will provide us with a timely opportunity to discuss our proposal – put together with input from many of our members – for a fair and managed immigration system. We are also meeting with the Tourism Minister, Michael Ellis, to talk through visas and the tourism sector deal that forms part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy.
It’s been a busy week for our team in Westminster. We’ve had some very positive engagement and are looking forward to continuing the constructive conversations – and delivering results – over the coming months