Keeping our capital working for the UK

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Our response to the industrial strategy consultation; the foundations of our 2017 manifesto

The government intends to develop a new industrial strategy in preparation for Brexit, and to deliver a more balanced UK economy. A Green Paper was published in January, and over the last few months we’ve been talking to members, businesses across sectors, as well as working with the Mayor’s office to develop a response. You can read our full response here.

We believe the industrial strategy is an opportunity to develop a national policy framework to drive growth and productivity across the UK. As an international hub for business, finance and tourism, the capital is well positioned to drive growth and support the national industrial strategy.

At a time when government is rightly focused on the Brexit negotiations, there is a strong case to give our city-regions the powers and fiscal tools to build on their strengths and address their weaknesses. We are asking the government to speed up the process of devolution, and implement the recommendations of the London Finance Commission, many of which apply more widely to other UK cities

We believe that the drivers of growth in London are similar for other cities and regions in the UK, and by collaborating with other city-regions and business, we can unlock growth across the country.

Our report, London 2036: an agenda for jobs and growth, has been produced in consultation with hundreds of London’s business leaders, and sets out delivery priorities, under three broad themes:

Building on strengths and staying open for business – for the benefit of the whole country, London needs to remain open for business. It must secure its position as the leading global hub for finance and talent, build new trading arrangements as we move towards Brexit and exploi London’s reputation for tourism and entertainment.

Fuelling innovation and growth – London can help fuel UK growth by capitalising on strengths in technology and creativity, providing world class digital infrastructure and improving its ability to scale up entrepreneurial businesses, driving large-scale job creation.

Addressing weaknesses – we need to invest in transport and other infrastructure, tackle long-term barriers to growth, as well as invest in home-grown skills to improve productivity. Meeting these needs requires city-regional leadership to develop tailored local solutions.

The Green Paper identified five sectors for special ‘sector deals’: life sciences, low-carbon vehicles, industrial digitalisation, creative industries and nuclear. Whilst these are key platforms on which to build UK growth, we urge the government to also support sectors where London and the rest of the UK act as sources of talent for each other. These are; financial and professional services, and international tourism.

We will now build our manifesto for the general election around this response to the industrial strategy Green Paper. We are keen to move quickly and would welcome your feedback on our asks to government.

Please contact dlutton@londonfirst.co.uk

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