Keeping our capital working for the UK

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Why London needs a seat at the negotiating table

John Dickie, Director of Strategy and Policy, London First 

As Her Majesty officially opened Parliament, Brexit negotiations naturally dominated the Queen’s Speech, with the Great Repeal Bill the draw of the day.  But, anyone in the business of keeping Britain competitive knows this is just one half of the story.

Whilst government clearly has a lot on its plate over the next couple of years, pressing decisions must be made to keep the UK economy growing, long-after the ink has dried on the Brexit papers.

That means bold interventions to address years of under-supplied housing, transport infrastructure in dire need of modernisation and a skills system that fails to prepare our young for work.

May’s government has touched on these areas in today’s speech, but with Number 10’s eyes on Brussels, our city-regions should now be empowered to step onto the stage and deliver.

In London this would mean granting City Hall the ability to push ahead with Crossrail 2, London desperately needs this new transport capacity. Not least because, whilst HS2 will transform inter-city journeys, unless we address bottlenecks like Euston, passengers will lose all the time they’ve gained by having to queue for the Tube. Crossrail 2 provides the vital missing link.

In the context of Brexit, it’s essential that the ‘widest possible consensus’ really is put into play. This includes making sure London government has a seat at a table for the negotiations.

The only way to achieve a successful Brexit is for government to work with business and devolved institutions to start building the homes, transport links and infrastructure we need. Combined with an immigration approach that ensures we have access to the talent we need, we can get the UK into a strong position as the clock counts down to 2019.


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