Parliament returned after its summer recess for a brief bout of frenzied activity before breaking up again for Party Conference season. All eyes were on the 2nd reading of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill (known also as the Repeal Bill), which will be debated in line-by-line detail in October.
LCCI continues to be an active voice in EU debates, briefing MPs and London Assembly members about business priorities, outlined most recently in our report Moving Towards Brexit: London business views one year on from the EU referendum.
Last year we published our proposals for a post-Brexit system of flexible migration. These ideas were picked up this month in publications by both the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Social Integration and the APPG for Migration. MPs on the social integration group echoed LCCI’s recommendations with a call to create a regionally-led immigration system and give regions, including London, separate Shortage Occupation Lists.
Access to skills is a critical issue for London’s businesses, and we’ve argued that London should be able to issue ‘Capital Work Permits’ for roles that have been identified as in shortage within London’s economy, assuming a post-Brexit environment that makes it more difficult for foreign workers from the EU to come to the UK.
The government has said it will set out its immigration proposals in the Autumn. LCCI will be monitoring these closely, as well as responding to the ongoing inquiry by officials from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) into the role of EU migrants within the UK’s economy. MAC officials are presenting to LCCI members at a special briefing on 12 September.
We anticipate the next big ‘fiscal event’ – the Budget – will be in November, and government is seeking views by 22nd September. £800bn worth of public spending might sound like a lot, however departmental budgets remain squeezed and LCCI continues to make the case for a positive government commitment to Crossrail 2.
Crucially, in our submission to government we will also be reiterating the need for further fiscal devolution to the capital – the posh way of saying that London should have more control over the taxes it raises itself, rather than continuing to rely so much upon central government grant. We aren’t seeking more money – but rather the power to ensure that spending is prioritised on what matters most.
We are preparing our response to the Mayor of London’s draft Transport Strategy. Issues we will be addressing include congestion, the importance of freight to the capital’s economy (reiterating our call for there to be a new Freight Commissioner for London), the need for Crossrail 2 and the importance of improved airport surface links.
Transport’s ability to unlock much needed housing development is an important factor in why investment in transport links is so important. Referencing this truth also acts as a useful segue to highlight that we will also be responding to the draft London Plan, expected in November, and the Mayor’s Housing Strategy, published this month.
Events, my dear boy, events
We think it’s important that LCCI members have the opportunity to put their views to, and hear directly from, politicians and decision makers.
On 11th October we are launching our latest Capital 500 Quarterly Economic Survey at the Metro Bank in Holborn, with speakers including Catherine Neilan, the Head of Politics and Investigations at City A.M.
On 26th October the Labour Shadow Brexit Secretary, Sir Keir Starmer, will be addressing members in what will undoubtedly be a fascinating discussion.
On 31st October LCCI is hosting a policy lunch with the Chair of the International Trade Select Committee Angus MacNeil MP.
If you would like to register your interest for LCCI policy events and to receive more information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LCCI will also have a presence at the Party Conferences, and is hosting a Cities and Growth reception in Manchester and Brighton alongside the Federation of Small Businesses, London First, and the Institute of Directors. Please do RSVP via our respective Eventbrite pages for the Brighton and Manchester events.