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The £1.9 trillion infrastructure prize

Investing properly in London’s infrastructure could boost the capital’s economy by £1.9 trillion over the long term, according to analysis by KPMG for London First.

The report, London’s Infrastructure: Investing for Growth, found investing in the city’s infrastructure could also bring a surplus for the Treasury, and to the benefit of the entire UK economy.

It concluded that London faces a stark choice between investing in infrastructure – and boosting jobs and growth – or effectively planning for decline as the city becomes less attractive as a place to visit, live or work, public dissatisfaction rises and London’s international competitiveness is hit.

The report calls for:

  • the Mayor and GLA to translate its 2050 Infrastructure Plan into a prioritised and integrated housing and infrastructure investment programme, focused on those projects that will drive higher economic growth.
  • central government to not only maintain London’s transport grant funding at least at current levels into the 2020s in this summer’s forthcoming spending review, but to go further by providing London with the funding, powers or other guarantees that will enable London to invest for growth.
  • the business community to play a part in funding the infrastructure that’s needed, to speak with a coherent voice on priorities, and to hold infrastructure providers to account as a quid pro quo for the funding provided.

Baroness Jo Valentine, Chief Executive of London First, said the report was timely following the Budget.

In that, the Chancellor made the case for a nationwide recovery, backing both London and a ‘Northern Powerhouse’, and saying ‘We can’t pull the nation up by pulling London down’.

Baroness Valentine said:

“This report shows that politicians must not forget the importance of investing in London.

“Low interest rates mean the capital has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest in infrastructure.

“With a projected 100,000 additional people living in the capital every year, London now faces a stark choice. Do we plan to support jobs and economic growth – or effectively plan for decline?”

Chris Grigg, Chief Executive of British Land, chaired the working group in charge of the developing the report. He said:

“London is growing at a rate not seen for a hundred years or more. We now need to invest in the transport, housing and wider infrastructure critical to making the capital a great place to live, work and visit. Enabling growth in the capital will help maximise our national economic potential, delivering jobs and opportunity for the entire UK.”

The report is downloadable here.

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