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London First’s key asks of the Chancellor

London First have written to the Chancellor ahead of the Autumn statement highlighting the following points:

We are broadly supportive of the Mayor’s formal submission to the Chancellor earlier this month. In particular, we would emphasise:

  • providing further seed funding to support the development of more detailed plans for Crossrail 2, where the Mayor has asked for £20m (or at least the shared funding of this sum);
  • the loan or guarantee of £55m to support the extension of the Overground to Barking Riverside, which in turn will support the development of the brownfield site which will deliver nearly 11,000 homes; and
  • government support for the swift four-tracking on the West Anglia Main Line both to support regeneration through the Upper Lea Valley and to provide better connectivity between central London, Stansted Airport and Cambridge.

We also hope that the Chancellor’s statement will announce further measures to devolve powers and resources to cities across the UK; including, of course to London. Population growth in London puts particular pressure on our infrastructure; alongside transport investment we are seeking a step change increase in house building. National Government could help by:

  • Giving the Mayor greater power to set tougher requirements on the London boroughs: using the existing borough house building targets, the Mayor should be able to financially reward those that meet them and take over planning decision-making from those that fail.
  • Giving the Mayor the power to lead on identifying and disposing of strategic sites owned by the public sector that are surplus to requirements: the Greater London Authority has a good track record in bringing forward surplus land for new housing. It should be empowered to support all public sector landowners in London.
  • Letting London councils invest: by scrapping the arbitrary restrictions placed on local authorities’ Housing Revenue Accounts that stop London boroughs borrowing prudentially to fund new housing.

Finally, we would welcome the Chancellor reiterating the government’s support for the Airport Commission’s work and the urgency of taking the necessary political decisions to meet the shortage of runway capacity in the South East after the election.

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