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Business urges Government to spend on London infrastructure

Next week’s Pre-Budget Report (PBR) is a crucial opportunity for Government to mitigate the effects of the economic downturn by investing in London’s future success.

London First, representing the views of businesses in the capital, has set out three actions for the Chancellor.

Baroness Jo Valentine, Chief Executive of London First, said:

“The down-turn is sure to hit London hard, but the right decisions can help lessen its effect.  Yet, experience shows that London will give the best return on investment once growth resumes.  The Government must act swiftly and also sustainably.  Channelling extra investment into transport projects – accelerating upgrade work on the Tube, bringing forward spending on other backburner transport schemes – will provide jobs now and a strong payback later.

“This applies to the investment for 2012. Of course we want a cost effective 2012 Games – who doesn’t?  But the long term benefits of regenerating East London are worth far more than a fortnight of sport.  We must invest in regeneration if we are to turn the tide for the neglected Lower Lea Valley.”
1. Invest in the Future:  Increase investment in London’s infrastructure for jobs now and London and UK economic growth in the longer term

– There are unfunded but viable transport schemes ready to go.  Government should invest in projects such as the East London Line extension (Phase 2), and bring forward work to fix the Tube, both of which will provide a return on taxpayers’ money
2. To 2012 and Beyond!  Commit to ambitious regeneration for East London which is kick-started by the 2012 Games

– Build in the local roads, bridges, schools and hospitals as the foundations for resurgent communities

– Separate the cost of two weeks of sport from generations of change for the Lower Lea Valley.  Don’t confuse the budgets or their aims.
3. Government action should support London’s competitiveness

– Tax and regulation policy must support recovery, mitigating for the short-term, as well as preparing for the upturn.  Any reform of banking regulation should not damage London’s competitiveness with other world financial centres. Similarly, Government should delay plans to charge business rates on empty properties.

Notes to Editors

London First is a business membership organisation whose mission is to make London the best city in the world in which to do business. London First undertakes this by mobilising the experience, expertise and enthusiasm of the private sector to develop practical solutions to the challenges facing London. London First also seeks to persuade central and London government to make the investments that London needs in its infrastructure

London First delivers its activities with the support of the capital’s major businesses in key sectors such as finance, professional services, property, ICT, creative industries, hospitality and retail. Membership also includes all of London’s higher education institutions as well as further education colleges and NHS hospital trusts. London First members represent a quarter of London’s GDP.

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