Keeping our capital working for the UK

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Long-term economic development plan for London

The Chancellor and the Mayor of London have laid out a six point long-term economic plan for the capital.

We were pleased that many of the key themes in the plan reflected the priorities for the capital contained in our pre-Election ‘Manifesto for Jobs and Growth’.

The core messages also chimed with London First’s own plan for the capital that was published in January – the first in the UK to be led by the business community – setting out priorities to drive jobs and growth in London between now and 2036, when the population is expected to reach 10m. (More on that below.)

Our thoughts on the Chancellor and Mayor’s headline announcements:


We welcome the Chancellor’s aspiration for London to take on New York across a range of sectors and come out on top. With more $1billion international subsidiaries, and attracting more foreign investment than any other city, London is already a match for many of its global competitors, including the Big Apple.

But Shangai and Beijing will overtake London in GDP by 2025, and 68% of future £1billion companies will be from emerging markets. As the centre of global economic gravity shifts East, London must be equipped to compete in terms of growth with not only its traditional rivals, but with new ones as well.


We welcome the idea of a London Land Commission to coordinate the sale of un- or under-used public sector land for much-needed housing.

This announcement answers the call for a modern-day Domesday Book, holding all the details of this land and administered by a single, well-informed source, that we laid out in our March 2014 report: Home Truths: 12 steps to solving London’s housing crisis. The real challenge is now to go from identification to utilisation — to join up the public sector and so release as much land as possible for new homes for Londoners.

DEVOLUTION (skills and planning):

We were pleased to hear of the Chancellor’s plans to discuss giving more planning powers and skills provision to London, where delivery can be tailored to need.

However, much more needs to be done to equip Londoners with the access, ambition and skills they need to compete in tomorrow’s labour market, which will be characterised by a shrinking pool of mid-skill jobs. London 2036, in setting out what London needs to do to remain a global player, pinpointed a lack of home-grown skills as a real threat to the city.


We welcomed plans for an increase in the number of 24-hour tube routes, as well as the Chancellor’s enthusiasm for crucial new infrastructure projects like Crossrail 2.But London needs a philosophical shift at the Treasury that recognises and tackles the growing infrastructure challenges facing London if it is to remain a city that works.

The Mayor’s Infrastructure Plan anticipated that demand for public transport will jump 50% by 2050, and hundreds of billions of pounds of investment will be needed to meet it. This investment will support strong growth in the London and UK economy, and deliver substantially increased tax revenues: the business case is clear and it is affordable and now it needs to happen.

On Monday 16 March – ahead of our second London Infrastructure Summit the following week – London First will publish a report outlining the full case for investment in London’s infrastructure, and explain how this will directly benefit many parts of the country.


The London area’s tech sector is already bigger than Silicon Valley’s, so we were pleased to hear announcements for new investment in science, finance, technology and culture to make London a centre of the world’s creative and commercial life.

However, with 80% of Tech City business saying that a lack of skilled workers is the biggest single barrier to growth, London urgently needs to train more technical talent if we are to make the most of the opportunity these new sectors offer.

LONDON 2036:

London 2036: An Agenda for Jobs and Growth’ was produced on behalf of the London Enterprise Panel – the Mayor’s business advisory panel – and is the most significant business-led consultation project yet undertaken to help drive jobs and growth in a UK city. The three core themes for successfully developing and safeguarding London’s economy highlighted in the report are:

You can view a summary of the key themes for successfully developing and safeguarding London’s economy in a video available on our website.

Contact: Catherine Shrimpton,

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