London First was formed by a group of business leaders in the ‘90s to provide strategic leadership for the capital at a time when it was severely needed.
With the capital’s population reaching a historic low for modern times, London was at risk of being overshadowed by other European cities.
Who are the London First founders?
The founders of London First were long-term visionaries in property, infrastructure and transport.
Its first Chairman was Allen Sheppard, Lord Sheppard of Didgemere, then Chief Executive of Grand Metropolitan. Other business leaders who shaped and guided London First include: Sir Peter Hunt, Chairman of Land Securities: Honor Chapman of Jones Lang LaSalle and Colin Marshall, Lord Marshall of Knightsbridge, then CEO of British Airways. The consulting firm McKinsey offered support, including the loan of staff time.
We were set up to create pragmatic solutions to London’s challenges by galvanising the business community, and have helped create some key changes over the years:
London First is born
Think London, now part of London and Partners, is established to promote London globally and encourage foreign direct investment
London First is instrumental in creating the executive office of the Mayor of London, Transport for London and other Mayoral agencies.
London schools benefit from the skills of hundreds of graduates placed by Teach First, incubated by London First and now one of the leading graduate schemes, operating nationally
Congestion charging is introduced following our recommendations. Providing a funding stream for vital infrastructure investment whilst tackling central London congestion
We galvanise business support for the successful Olympic and Paralymic Games bid, as a catalyst for regeneration in east London
Skills London, the UK’s biggest jobs and careers event is established. The annual show continues to equip and inspire tens of thousands of young Londoners
We launch what is now theNew West End Company; UK’s largest retail Business Improvement District, developing and promoting Oxford Street, Bond Street and Regent Street
Having campaigned for Crossrail since we launched, government gives it the go ahead. The Elizabeth line will launch its passenger service ten years later
The Chancellor reflects calls from our two year campaign by announcing a reduction in the top rate of income tax to 45%
We create cross-business support for the Let Britain Fly campaign, pivotal in securing government backing for an extra Heathrow runway
Our campaign for Crossrail 2 takes off with a proposed route agreed and backed by our business task force
We work with the GLA on a business-led economic growth plan for London, following extensive consultation with more than 400 business leaders
We campaign for a step change in housebuilding. Our work guides the Mayor’s new approach to housing through the Homes for Londoners board, and companies signing our Housing Pledges support over 120,000 employees.
We drive the appointment of two new roles in the GLA – the Night Czar and Chief Digital Officer, working closely with both on their visions for London
Originated by London First,Resilience First launches. An initiative to improve urban resilience for business communities in the UK and beyond, backed by national and international corporations.
Today, against the Brexit backdrop, London First has three priorities that will keep London working for the UK: attracting talent, by developing UK skills and securing an evidence-based migration system; accelerating house building to create the homes London’s employees need; and getting Crossrail 2 moving.
Become a member
Our members include over 200 of the capital’s leading employers across a wide range of sectors, with a common commitment to our capital.