Keeping our capital working for the UK

Print this page

The party positions on business priorities

The UK’s three biggest parties have now published their manifestos, outlining their positions on London First’s priorities to keep our capital globally competitive.

All three parties have recognised the importance of boosting skills to driving growth across the UK.

  • The Conservatives have committed to putting skills at the heart of their industrial strategy.
  • The Liberal Democrats aim to double the number of businesses that hire apprentices and plug gaps in basic competencies needed, such as numeracy, literacy and digital skills, by 2030.
  • Labour has pledged to devolve responsibility for skills and work with devolved administrations to improve the operation of the apprenticeship levy.

As the new government sets the steer for this country’s future, it must proactively engage with business to ensure that skills gaps are plugged and employers can continue to access the talent needed for a strong economy. Business is committed to playing a full role in developing the skills of its workforce, and our Employment and Skills Commission will provide a strong business voice to establish a skills strategy for our capital.

Access to global talent is equally important, and as the next government takes back control of immigration, it must ensure that sectors retain this access to continue to compete on a global scale.

  • The Conservatives would seek recommendations from the independent Migration Advisory Committee on strategically aligning the UK’s visa system with its industrial strategy without adding to net migration.
  • Similarly, Labour would work with businesses and other partners to set out a new system enabling migrants to fill skills shortages in line with the economy’s needs.
  • The Liberal Democrats would reinstate post-study work visas for STEM graduates, also granting devolved administrations the powers to sponsor additional post-study work visas.

The UK as a whole, and London in particular, are facing a housing crisis and urgently need more homes. Each party has shown commitment to building more homes; another step in the right direction. London First’s manifesto sets out how to deliver the homes our capital so badly needs. The new government should as a matter of priority take the brakes off London boroughs investing in home building, work with the mayor to release public land for development, help housing associations to build more homes, and invest in transport infrastructure to unlock land for housing development.

Each party has pledged to deliver vital infrastructure projects. London has already committed to funding half of the cost of Crossrail 2, which, as well as providing essential transport capacity, could unlock 200,000 new homes. The new government must commit to introducing a Crossrail 2 Bill as quickly as possible, allowing construction to begin in the early 2020s and be open in the early 2030s.

If our next government pushed the delivery of economic growth to devolved institutions, it could give cities and regions the powers and resources to make the right decisions and drive investment and growth. London First will continue to work with organisations around the UK to make the case for devolution and push for a commitment to Crossrail 2.

Business is poised to step up and work with the new government. Over the next three weeks, we will continue to amplify our three priorities set out in our manifesto and get ready to engage from 9 June.

London First Tweets