Wednesday 12 February 2020
London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has today unveiled recommendations on behalf of the capital’s businesses about how the next Mayor of London and London Assembly can navigate the capital through Brexit and beyond, countering population growth, capitalising on technological advancement and reducing London’s carbon footprint.
The 'More Capital, working for the UK' business manifesto for the next London mayoral and Assembly term comes at the start of a decade beginning with Brexit and due to end with a London population of 10 million residents.
Richard Burge, LCCI Chief Executive, said:
“This election comes at a vital juncture for London.
“Brexit has raised interesting questions about future trading relationships and a new immigration system. However, there is also a need to examine London’s role in supporting balanced growth across the whole UK.
"The capital and the regions enjoy a strong economic relationship and their future is intertwined; London is supportive of further devolution to the regions, but that process cannot pass London by. We are co-dependent and we should grow together.
"The capital’s rising population is placing existing housing and transport infrastructure under pressure. At the same time there is a pressing need to secure the new tech and digital infrastructure that our changing city and its businesses need.
"And of course, above all these matters we must adjust to the impacts of Climate Change. Transitioning London to become a truly net zero carbon capital will require a cooperative endeavour utilising business innovation and investment.
"This is the context within which LCCI launches its manifesto. No matter who gets elected on May 7, we urge them to see these as pragmatic, forward-thinking and unifying recommendations, that could help create a better London and UK."
LCCI recommend the Mayor of London and London Assembly should:
Create a smarter London, by:
- Appointing a dedicated Deputy Mayor for Technology and Innovation to develop and promote London’s status as a global tech hub.
- Collaborating with boroughs to achieve swifter roll-out of the 5G network.
- Reviewing energy infrastructure resilience to service increased electric vehicle charging and smart technology usage.
Create a greener London, by:
- Appointing a dedicated Deputy Mayor for Climate Adaptation to build and enhance London’s adaptive capacity to deal with potential climate change impacts.
- Working with business organisations to seek a timely transition from diesel and petrol to electric and low emission vehicles.
- Inspiring a reuse, repurpose and recycle approach among businesses to accelerate growth in the circular economy.
Enhance and increase efficiency of transport in London, by:
- Campaigning for devolution of suburban metro rail services, to be managed by TfL.
- Securing essential London Underground network upgrades, including signalling on the Piccadilly Line, extension of the Bakerloo Line to optimise the full potential of south east London, and enhancements of the DLR as London continues to grow eastwards.
- Commission plans for more river crossings to the east of Tower Bridge.
- Making a case for devolving local Vehicle Excise Duty to London to improve the strategic road network and support business activity.
- Appointing a Freight Commissioner to deliver a long-term holistic strategy to accommodate a sustained increase in demand. The Commissioner could look to enhance logistics industry sustainability through supporting electric vehicle uptake on roads and assisting vessel operators to adapt to cleaner technology and make greater use of the River Thames.
Ensure access to a skilled workforce, by:
- Building a lobby for flexible migration and the creation of a dedicated Shortage Occupation List for London to provide access to the talent required by business.
- Seek regional flexibility in any new immigration system with a targeted migration area designation for London, to coordinate its significant skills and labour requirements.
- Establishing an annual London Skills Audit with civic and business leaders, to identify gaps, track trends and enable training to be tailored to reflect diverse local requirements.
- Moving towards creating a dedicated London Careers Service to provide a hub for advice and relevant services, as well as embedding new perceptions of, and approaches to, lifelong learning.
- Examining what aspects of the Apprenticeship Levy system may be better managed and supported at regional and local level, including control of the capital’s non-levy allocation and allocation of unspent funds to more effectively meet local skills need.
Ensure workers can live in the capital, by:
- Commissioning a review of the Green Belt to identify and assess how poor-quality use and derelict land could be utilised to meet specific housing needs, while protecting spaces that enhance the capital’s environment.
- Securing consents and funding to provide dedicated homes for rent by emergency workers in London, to enhance the resilience of the economy.
- Securing appropriate standards and controls on Permitted Development Rights, ensuring considerations on future retail and commercial requirements are part of a decision-making process.
- Exploring how to harness and support greater take-up of innovative modern methods of construction, including airspace development, to help address the lack of affordable homes to rent by workers across London.
Related LCCI polling:
- 53% of London businesses are confident that they could cut greenhouse gas emissions in the UK to almost zero by 2030, but 24% say they don’t know.
- 62% of businesses agreed that the Mayor of London should take over suburban rail services, if they are performing poorly.
- 31% of businesses say that the quality of public transport in the capital has worsened.
- 42% of London business leaders see skills gaps as a key barrier to growth.
- 82% of businesses said London councils should have the powers and funding to integrate employment, skills and apprenticeships in their local area.
- 63% of businesses say boroughs with green belt should identify poor quality land and assess if fit to build on.
- 54% of businesses say City Hall and London boroughs should use retained business rates to build more homes.
- 65% of businesses (68% of councillors and 67% of the public) support London having a role in international migration.
- 31% of London businesses experienced digital connectivity issues at least once a month.
Professor Tony Travers, Director, LSE London: “Devolution of additional powers, including finance, would allow the city to invest in its future rather than lobby Whitehall to get its own taxpayers’ money back. London’s vast private sector is key to its economic success. City government needs the freedom to ensure good infrastructure and public services continue to make the city attractive for inward investment.”
Mark Jenkinson, Director, Crystal Associates: “It is now time to accelerate action for a cleaner, greener and smarter London. The capital’s businesses, large and small, have a key role to play in achieving these targets and ensuring London and the UK have a leading role globally.”
Andre Burwood, BASE Programme Director, Battersea Power Station Development Company: “Skills shortages at all levels continue to be an issue for companies. Greater flexibility around skills funding and delivery is essential to train and upskill Londoners to meet the demands of employers, but also to ensure everyone has an opportunity to get the skills they need to get on in life.”
Claire Kober, Managing Director – Homes, Pinnacle Group: “Achieving a step change in housing delivery is critical to London’s future success. For this to happen we need effective partnership working between public and private sectors and an approach that embraces the contribution of the whole sector – from SMEs to larger players. We must lead the way when it comes to innovation, creating inspiring, resilient and sustainable communities.”
Natalie Chapman, Head of South England and Urban Policy, Freight Transport Association: “Efficient networks maintain economic growth, support jobs and unlock housing development. In short, they create opportunities for people and for businesses. Therefore, sustained investment in transport infrastructure is critical to ensuring that the capital can continue to function, grow and thrive, while continuing to meet demand.”
T: +44 (0)207 203 1897
M: +44 (0)7827 241528