Making the Budget work for London business

Wednesday 5 March 2014
 

Making the Budget work for London business

London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) will today launch its 2014 Budget submission, setting out how the Chancellor can help London continue to compete as a global business centre.

The launch will be at an LCCI reception with Shadow Business Secretary and MP for Streatham, Chuka Umunna MP.

The key asks of Chancellor George Osborne are:

"Keep London growing"          

  • Lift borrowing caps for London councils to build more housing         

High housing costs make it difficult for London businesses to attract and retain the staff they need to prosper.

"Keep London competitive"

  • A £1,000 grant for businesses to take on a young employee - either as an apprentice or for taking on someone aged between 18 and 24 who has been unemployed for at least 6 months.

In 2013 over one in five job vacancies (22%) were unfilled because of inadequate skills availability - up from 16% two years earlier. In the same year nearly one in five 16-24 years olds were unemployed (19.9%).

"Keep London moving"

  • Commit to financing a new river crossing in east London.

The sub-region needs a new fixed river crossing to help bring growth to the capital's most underdeveloped areas.

"Keep London secure"

  • Extend and expand the Cyber Security Innovation Voucher scheme.

Small and Medium sized businesses should be helped to protect their businesses from the growing threat of cybercrime.

"Give London the powers to grow"

  • Devolve power over all property taxes to the GLA

London's population is set to grow by the equivalent of Birmingham over the next ten years - which will require major investment in its infrastructure. London cannot invest in its future when it is reliant on an ever-changing government grant. The Chancellor should give London more freedom to deliver the infrastructure it needs.

Colin Stanbridge, Chief Executive of LCCI, said: "When London prospers, the rest of the country benefits so it is in the interests of the entire nation that London is encouraged to grow and compete in a global market place.

"If it does not then it will be the likes of Berlin or Beijing that capitalise on London's failings not Birmingham or Bristol.

"By giving London authorities power over the property taxes raised within the capital, in return for a pound for pound reduction in the central government grant, the Chancellor can give the capital's decision makers the freedom and security to plan and deliver the infrastructure that will keep London as a great place to live and do business in the face of growing competition from other major cities in the global marketplace.

"For example, east London desperately needs a new river crossing to help boost economic growth in some of the capital's most underdeveloped areas. While almost half of London's population lives east of Tower Bridge, there are only two crossings resulting in time and money wasting congestion.

"Two of the most pressing problems facing our economy at the moment are the skills shortage and the high levels of youth unemployment. We would like to see the Chancellor incentivise employers to give young people their first step on the career ladder through a £1000 grant to help stop the current squandering of talent and opportunity."

ENDS

Media contact:         
Fiona Callister,
T: +44 (0)20 7203 1897                     
M: +44 (0)7827 241528
E: fcallister@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. 69% of businesses thought London's existing infrastructure would cope "poorly" or "very poorly" with forecast population growth (QES, Q4 2013, 125 businesses).
  4. 69% of businesses thought London government should retain more of the taxes raised in the capital (QES, Q2 2013, 215 businesses).
  5. 59% of businesses say that rising levels of Air Passenger Duty were a barrier to them exporting (QES, Q2 2012, 183 businesses)