Chancellor should go further with London devolution commitments - LCCI

 

Friday 20th February 2015

Chancellor should go further with London devolution commitments - LCCI

Commenting on the long-term economic plan for London, set out today by Chancellor George Osborne and Mayor of London Boris Johnson, Chief Executive of London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Colin Stanbridge, said: "We were very pleased to hear the Chancellor commit to many of the economic measures that the London Chamber has long been uniquely calling for.

"We have said that housing should be the number one election issue, so the measures to boost house building, to address the chronic housing shortage in London are particularly welcome, as is the establishment of a London Land Commission to identify brownfield and surplus public sector land. We have called for a register - a 'Domesday book' book if you like - of surplus land to harness the space available in the capital.

"We know that housing shortages can have a huge effect on business, 42% of London businesses have told us they are struggling because of housing costs to recruit and retain skilled workers, so these measures to free up publicly owned land for development will have a tangible economic impact.

"We were also pleased to see the Chancellor confirm new powers for the Mayor over skills provision and economic development. However, this is one area where we would urge him to go further.

"If London is to remain the economic powerhouse of the UK economy, the Mayor must have the power over London's purse strings to secure a sustainable source of funding for the sorts of critical infrastructure investments the Chancellor set out today.

"In the long term, tube upgrades, line extensions and huge projects like Crossrail 2 simply can't be funded through continual hand outs from HM Treasury. If the Chancellor allowed the Mayor to retain property taxes levied in London, he would have the ongoing source of revenue to strategically plan and finance these projects."

ENDS

Media contact
Jo Hooper, Press & Media Relations Manager
T: +44 (0)20 7203 1897                     
M: +44 (0)7827 241528
E: jhooper@londonchamber.co.uk

NOTES TO EDITOR:

1.    London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) is the capital's largest and most representative business organisation, with members ranging in size from multi-national companies to SMEs and sole traders.

2.    Colin Stanbridge is available for further comment and interview.

3.   London's long-term economic plan included:

  • Measures to address London's acute housing problem, the number one challenge facing the city, by building over 400,000 new homes - including a London Land Commission to identify and support development of brownfield and public sector land
  • £10 billion of new investment in London's transport over the next Parliament including new tube improvements, better roads, more buses and cycle lanes and identifying the next big infrastructure investment after Crossrail
  • New investment in science, finance, technology and culture in London
  • Setting the ambition to outpace the growth of New York, adding £6.4bn to the London economy by 2030
  • Creating over half a million extra jobs in London by 2020, attracting worldwide investment and continuing to raise standards in schools
  • A commitment to give more power to Londoners to control their city's future, with new powers for the Mayor of London to support economic growth, boost skills in the capital and more control over the planning process