Keeping our capital working for the UK

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UK’s first business-led plan for London sets out priorities to drive jobs and growth in the capital

Study comes with clear message: swift and decisive action is needed to address city’s challenges

The most significant business-led consultation project undertaken to help drive jobs and growth in a UK city is set to be launched at an event attended by more than 200 business leaders, as well as London and central and government representatives, this week.

London 2036: An Agenda for Jobs and Growth’ sets out a formula for the capital to achieve world-beating income growth, greater job opportunities than rival cities, a diverse and shock-proof economy, more homes and better transportation, as well as more balanced economic growth across the UK.

Three core themes for successfully developing and safeguarding London’s economy are highlighted in the report:

The study was produced by London First on behalf of the London Enterprise Panel (the Mayor’s business advisory panel).  A number of global competitor cities (including Chicago, New York, Rio, and Hong Kong) have developed similar plans, but London is the first UK city to do so.

It found that London has a number of inherent advantages already as a hub for business and talent, as well as a centre for creativity and innovation.

But the report comes with the clear message that the strengths and assets that have got the capital to where it is now are not enough to maintain the city’s global leadership position and swift and decisive action is needed to address the challenges the city faces today. It also sets out key metrics to measure future performance between now and 2036 – when London’s population is expected to top 10m.

Key challenges facing London include pressure on London’s openness to immigration and the UK’s relationship with the European Union, as well as the urgent need for a radical step up in promotion to win emerging market investment, business, visitors, talent and students.

Other threats to the city’s future include a scarcity of UK talent, particularly in the tech sector, as well as easing the strain on London’s infrastructure, and a lack of power devolved to city government.


John Dickie, Director of Strategy at London First, said:

“London’s growth has been driven by the ingenuity of Londoners past and present, not because of some kind of grand plan.

“But as cities grow the systems become more complex and cost of failure is higher – that is why we now need a plan to drive London forward.

“This is not a substitute for the ingenuity that Londoners still have in abundance, it is a way of helping them get on and exercise it in the best environment possible.”

Steve Varley, Managing Partner, EY:

“London has the potential to be the largest technology and creative cluster in the world and the best place for fast growing firms, but we need to make changes if this is going to happen.

“EY will be devoting significant resources to exploring this further when the plan has been launched.”

Nicola Shaw, CEO of HS1:

“London continues to attract the very best investment in infrastructure and this reinforces its reputation as one of the best connected cities in the world, but we cannot afford to be complacent.

“The most effective development is that which is integrated.  This is not just connectivity in implementation, but right from the outset in terms of the initial vision and through the planning process.

“Good connectivity also requires regular and ambitious investment. Projects such as HS1, the Jubilee line extension and Crossrail show what can be achieved when investment equals vision.”

Harvey McGrath, Deputy Chair of the London Enterprise Panel:

“London’s future economic fortunes cannot be taken for granted. London also needs to manage the pressures that come with success – particularly around quality of life and cost of living – that could otherwise threaten London’s attractiveness to investors, talented individuals and even to Londoners themselves.

“And while London’s historic success has been largely organic and unplanned, there are specific areas where targeted actions will undoubtedly deliver better outcomes for London, and with it the rest of the UK.”

Russ Shaw, Tech London Advocates:

“Today’s announcement rightly puts technology at the heart of London’s economic growth.

“The extraordinary rise of the capital’s technology sector will only continue if key obstacles around talent, infrastructure and funding are addressed.

“With the private and public sector working together I am confident London has the appetite and capability to continue its success.”

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