London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has called for renewed investment ahead of next month’s Spending Review. Making representations to the Treasury the Chamber has said that the government must ensure that London is not overlooked or left behind in the push to secure roll-out of greater devolution across England.
LCCI Chief Executive Colin Stanbridge (below) said: “London cannot be left behind in the great push for English devolution. We urge government to remember that devolution is not a zero-sum game, London can gain further freedoms at the same time as other cities or regions across the country. It is not an ‘either/or’
”We believe a fiscal devolution pilot in London would show the huge potential benefits for all the UK that could be gained from greater power over tax and spend in the capital.”
“We need to see real commitment from government to address the fundamental issues within the capital that could affect London’s prospects for growth – investment in housing and key transport projects.”
“As London’s population soars, we must address these issues and build on the capital’s success to ensure London continues to be a principle driver of the UK economic recovery.”
Key areas LCCI is calling for action on, include:
London should have a great level of tax retention to enable sustained and secure investment in key London projects. LCCI believes a pilot scheme where one or more borough areas are permitted to retain a higher share of stamp duty and/ or business rates, should be explored. This could be a first step toward greater fiscal freedom for the capital. A ComRes poll for LCCI showed overwhelming support for further devolution – 60 per cent of the public, 56 per cent of businesses and 89 per cent of councillors were in favour
With the population of London set to soar to 10 million by 2030, sustained investment in London’s transport infrastructure system is critical to ensure that the capital can continue to function, grow and thrive. With that in mind, the current Transport for London grant from government should be maintained, as it is essential to sustain capital investment in the transport system
As London heads towards megacity status, with a population of 9 million+, it is vital the right infrastructure is in place to realise the potential of that growth in terms of economic output and productivity. 69 per cent of LCCI members believe that Crossrail 2 is vital for London. LCCI calls on government to commit further funding to Crossrail 2 to enter the detailed design phase
London needs targeted investment in housing and transport to ensure solid productivity and economic success. As more and more Londoners are forced to live further away from the main areas of economic activity due to the chronic under-supply of housing, transport systems must be up to scratch. This needs to be done in a cross-governmental, efficient manner, government must end the ‘silo’ approach
LCCI’s report last year – Getting our house in order : the impact of housing undersupply on London Business – found that the undersupply and rising cost of housing in London is having a significant impact on businesses as well as Londoners
- 59 per cent of firms reported increased housing costs led to a greater pressure to increase wages
- one third of firms believed that lack of affordable housing available near their place of work was affecting employee productivity
- 51 per cent of businesses said that lack of local affordable housing was affecting punctuality. This situation must be remedied.
LCCI’s follow-up report in May this year – Unlocking London’s housing potential – recommended that surplus brownfield land across London were utilised to build affordable homes. LCCI welcomed the establishment of the London Land Commission to identify and unlock this land, but calls on government to commit to annual funding of the Commission as part of this Spending Review.
Colin Stanbridge, LCCI Chief Executive