The LCCI Influence Blog - February 2018

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.

 

Transport Secretary grilled by LCCI members

London will soon become a ‘megacity’ of ten million citizens, and making sure the capital has the transport capacity necessary to accommodate this growth is an LCCI priority. 

Consequently, we welcomed the opportunity this month to put our priorities directly to the Secretary of State for Transport, the Rt. Hon Chris Grayling MP, who addressed more than one hundred LCCI members at an event chaired by LCCI Chief Executive, Colin Stanbridge at The Royal Institution of Great Britain.

Chief Executive of LCCI, Colin Stanbridge (right) and Transport Sectretary, Chris Grayling (left)

The discussion ranged across topics including congestion and transport funding to how we can maximise the skills legacy from major infrastructure projects.

The Transport Secretary was left in no doubt about the need for Crossrail 2 for the capital, responding that the project, whilst is has his support, must move forward in ‘lock-step’ with other transport projects, particularly in the north of the UK.  We agree – we just can’t afford to wait.   

Shadow Chancellor meets LCCI members

Such is the range of issues that impact businesses, close on the heels of the event with the Transport Secretary came a Q&A session with the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer and MP for Hayes and Harlington, the Rt Hon John McDonnell.

The Shadow Chancellor updated LCCI members on Labour’s view on Brexit, described by Mr McDonnell as the ‘elephant in the room’.  He said that while Labour will respect the referendum result, his party’s intention remains to secure a deal that protects jobs.  This might, he said, include ‘a’ form of customs union, a hot topic at the moment. 

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell taking questions from members during the Q&A

In the following Q&A session, chamber members pressed the Shadow Chancellor on what a Labour government would do to encourage and support SMEs and entrepreneurs, his views on business taxes and controversial plans for nationalisation. 

While nodding to his public persona with some joking references to ‘comrades’, he said that although they might not always agree with his polices, he would seek to have a constructive relationship with The City here in London and with businesses more generally. 

McDonnell’s comments made the front page of City AM


McDonnell event making the headlines

We do need some education

LCCI Chief Colin Stanbridge appeared before the London Assembly Education Panel on 8th February, to give evidence on plans to devolve the Adult Education Budget to London. 

The back of Colin’s head (left) alongside Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills, Jules Pipe (centre)

We welcome this devolution as a first step towards giving the capital even greater responsibilities around skills provision. 

Appearing besides the Deputy Mayor for Skills, Jules Pipe, Colin outlined the role businesses can and should play in helping ensure that the skills system delivers for Londoners and for London’s businesses.      

Businesses consider moving out of London due to Brexit and rising cost pressures

Research published this month by LCCI showed that one in five London businesses have moved or considered moving elsewhere in London or out of the capital over the past year due Brexit, rent rises or business rate rises.

Our survey ,of more than 500 business, found that some businesses were having to look at a move to a different part of London, others out of the capital and others out of the UK entirely.

You can read more, here.

LCCI’s findings reported in The Times (paywall) on 13 February

Having our say – LCCI responses to consultations and inquiries

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

Chief among them will be our response to the draft London Plan – the strategic planning bible for the capital which is currently under review. 

Separately, we will shortly be responding to the Mayor of London’s ULEZ proposals, which would introduce tighter emissions standards on vehicles operating in London from 2019. 

You can read all our responses in full, here.

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 26th 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
  • On 7th March LCCI’s Transport Committee is meeting with the chair of the House of Common’s Transport Select Committee, Lilian Greenwood MP, at Westminster.
  • On 12th April LCCI is hosting Paul Scully, MP for the south London seat of Sutton and Cheam and the new Conservative Vice Chairman for London.
  • On 6 June LCCI is hosting Baroness Fairhead, the Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion

If you would like to register your interest for LCCI policy events and to receive more information, please contact us at policy@londonchamber.co.uk.

For all LCCI events, check out the events page here.

Rob Griggs
Head of the Public Affairs Team