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The LCCI Influence Blog - January 2018

Reflecting on 2017 - Capital 500 survey launch 

As the capital heads towards ‘megacity’ status and Brexit negotiations continue underway, we believe that LCCI’s work representing the views of the capital’s firms to politicians and decision-makers alike is more important than ever.

The New Year kicked off with a packed house attending the launch of LCCI’s Capital 500 quarterly economic survey for Q4 2017, on 9th Jan.

You can read the full survey findings here, which demonstrate ongoing uncertainty and ongoing, lukewarm business confidence (albeit from results gathered before the Christmas breakthrough in Brexit negotiations, allowing talks to move onto the ‘next phase’. This might have provided a boost …).

In any london business event, the results show why 2018 will be such an important year for London firms, and why we think it is crucial that efforts are maximised to strengthen the foundations of London’s economy to deal with challenges ahead.


Launch of the Capital 500 QES at PwC at Embankment Place 

In light of the survey results, LCCI made four key recommendations to help the Mayor and the Government ensure London businesses can feel better equipped for the future:

  • better export support to help London businesses (especially SMEs);
  • that the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) make substantive interim recommendations to government in advance of the final report due in September 2018;
  • that City Hall should commission an economic assessment of Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) proposals; and
  • that the new London Plan prioritise the entry of smaller builders into the market

LCCI meets the new Chief Digital Officer

On 16 January LCCI hosted the capital’s first Chief Digital Officer Theo Blackwell for a policy breakfast with chamber members at the London Capital Club.


Theo pictured with LCCI’s CEO, Colin Stanbridge

The Chief Digital Officer confirmed that we can expect a ‘Smart London Plan’ to be launched at London Tech Week (11-17 June), the emphasis of which will be to make sure that digital technology and data can be harnessed across the capital to improve public services and the experiences of citizens and businesses.

This means improved collaboration between boroughs where possible, developing world class connectivity and ensuring we have the right digital skills at all levels.


LCCI members discussing the capital’s digital future with the CDO

LCCI will input into the ‘SMART’ Plan and into the wider draft London Plan, which should support the development of the capital’s digital infrastructure at a strategic level.

If you want to input into LCCI’s response you can contact the policy team at policy@londonchamber.co.uk

Reshuffled

The Prime Minister undertook a significant reshuffle of her government on 8th/9th January, albeit one which did not go as smoothly as planned.

Of note as we continue to face a significant challenge delivering enough new homes, Alok Sharma MP moved from his housing role to become Minister of State for Employment, being replaced by Dominic Raab MP.

Jo Johnson MP became Minister of State at the Department for Transport, and Minister for London – both roles of interest to London businesses as we seek to ensure that a) the capital’s vital role as the engine of the UK economy is recognised; and b) that the capital continues to benefit from transport infrastructure investment (particularly Crossrail 2) as we head towards megacity status.

The Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, tipped by some for a move, remained in post and so still taking part in LCCI’s Business Question Time on 7 February - see below.

LCCI has been in touch with each of the new appointments and will continue to press the case for government to support a competitive business environment for the capital.

Having our say – LCCI responses to consultations and inquiries 

It has been a busy month for LCCI’s policy team responding to a variety of consultations by government to make sure that the London business voice is heard.

We responded to the Mayor of London’s draft Skills and Adult Education Strategy for London, welcoming many of the proposals for addressing the capital’s skills gaps and improve domestic skills provision, whilst warning that part of the picture must remain a flexible migration system for London going forward.

We gave cautious backing to proposals for a new cycle and pedestrian crossing between Canary Wharf and Rotherhithe, warning that whilst any additional crossings are welcome we are concerned that previous proposals for two new road crossings at Gallions Reach and Belvedere – vital we believe to the economic success of a growing east London – have been kicked into the long grass under the mayor’s draft Transport Strategy.

We also gave our backing - assuming appropriate safeguards are put in place for the logistics sector and local businesses – to the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street.

You can read our responses in full, here.

The immigration debate 

On 15 January the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee published a report titled ‘Immigration policy: basis for building consensus’.

We submitted evidence to the inquiry, which the committee referenced when it said that they “heard from businesses and organisations about the need for recruitment from abroad, especially to secure top international talent, or to find employees in areas of skill shortages, or for jobs that local residents do not want to do”.

The influential committee also cited proposals for a regionalisation of immigration policy – much like that outlined by LCCI in our Permits, Points and Visas report.

It said that “Until the MAC [Migration Advisory Committee] concludes its work and that assessment has been done, the Government should be open-minded to a future immigration system that allows for different regional approaches to immigration”.

We have called on the MAC, which is currently reviewing the role and impact of migration to the UK’s economy, to publish interim results urgently so that they can be taken into account as post-Brexit immigration policy is developed.

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 7 February LCCI is holding a Business Question Time event with the Secretary of State for Transport, the Rt. Hon Chris Grayling MP
  • On 8 February we are hosting a breakfast event with the Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell MP
  • On 26 February we are hosting a Policy Breakfast with the leaders of the Conservative and Labour Parties in the London Assembly, Len Duvall AM and Gareth Bacon AM

As always - we want to hear from you. The public affairs and policy team is here to listen to your views and concerns and welcomes input to help strengthen our case for action. Don’t hesitate to get in touch.

For all LCCI events, check out our london business events calendar