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What could the Industrial Strategy mean for London?

In our first discussion on the proposed Industrial Strategy, hosted by KPMG, the overriding sentiment was one of caution. Members took heed of past government economic intervention and looked ahead at what a more effective strategy could look like.

In his opening remarks, London First’s Executive Director of Policy, David Lutton said: “A rigid place-based approach, that sees London’s growth as a problem to be fixed, would not be helpful. Having a global city that draws in investment from across the world is an asset that should be leveraged.”

There was support for the government’s plans to invest in infrastructure, both digital and physical, such as roads, rail and housing. However, investment in broadband and mobile services shouldn’t be limited to rural areas.

If London is to remain truly competitive, we should look to provide some of the fastest connection speeds in the world and make the most of an increasingly digital marketplace.

Other key priorities for London include the long-term stability of its skilled workforce and addressing the capital’s housing crisis.

Dr Lutton concluded with a summary of how the government could gain support for its Industrial Strategy.

“An industrial strategy that props up uncompetitive industries in the long-term is unsustainable, likely to be bad for the economy, and doomed to failure.

“But an approach where taxation, infrastructure – physical and digital – are aligned with education and skills policy, as well as a focus on supporting research and innovation, is likely to attracted wide business support.”

The panel discussion and Q&A brought out core themes that focused on the need for a coherent strategy, investment in agility, improving London’s connectedness with the rest of the UK, and ensuring that a ‘rebalanced’ economy does not hinder London’s competitiveness.

It is clear the Industrial Strategy could have wide and lasting implications for London, and we must understand the role the capital has in helping industry grow across the UK.

London First will present a paper on the Industrial Strategy in the new year, sharing member perspectives and our recommendations for the government.

Contact: David Lutton, dlutton@londonfirst.co.uk

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