Secure More Powers to Grow
Retaining a greater proportion of taxes generated in London and securing new competencies are essential in order to tackle London's unique set of challenges. London's population is expected to reach 10 million by the year 2030, which will place an even greater strain on the capital's infrastructure. More devolution from Whitehall would help improve decision-making, enabling those who understand the capital best to implement policies that are right for it, including around skills, housing and vital construction projects.
The new Mayor of London should:
Commission an update of the London Finance Commission Report on the potential for greater financial devolution
LCCI supports the findings of the 2013 London Finance Commission Report, which included calls for the devolution of business rates as part of a broader package of fiscal devolution to London. Recent news that business rates will be fully devolved to the capital is, therefore, welcome. However, this should be the beginning and not the end of further fiscal devolution. The new Mayor should commission an update of the London Finance Commission's report to reflect changes recent changes and re-emphasise the role that fiscal devolution can play in helping London meet its own challenges; for example, by trialling localised devolution of stamp duty in the capital tied to specific infrastructure projects like Crossrail 2.
Engage with London Boroughs to explore how clusters of combined authorities could drive greater economic cooperation
The devolution landscape in the United Kingdom has changed rapidly over the last 12 months, and continues to evolve. As combined authorities across the country secure devolution settlements, the case for devolution to London could be strengthened through mini-clusters of boroughs seeking opportunities to collaborate to achieve common goals. Neighbouring boroughs often face similar challenges and closer collaboration between them could help drive economic growth and empower them to make decisions strategically.
Seek greater control for the capital to set all aspects of housing policy
London is facing a housing crisis on a unique scale. Not only is overcrowding more severe in London, affordability is a particularly acute problem. As a result, and also taking into account the itinerant nature of London's workforce, it is vital that London is able to get sufficient homes built, but also that these are the right mix of types and tenures. The next Mayor of London, in collaboration with local authorities, is best placed to determine what housing policies are best for the capital, be it around determining affordability, or which housing tenures will be most effective in responding to local need. The next Mayor should seek more power for London to set housing policies that are right for it.
Convene a 'Metro Mayors Panel' to explore how to encourage and embed local government collaborative best practice on devolution
London has had an elected Mayor since 2000, and is about to embark upon the fifth, four-year mayoral term of office. The Mayor of London is invested with real (but still limited) powers over strategic planning, transport, crime policy and economic development. Under the Conservative government's devolution revolution, other parts of the country are catching up. From 2017, Greater Manchester, along with several other city regions, will elect 'metro-mayors' with powers similar to those of the Mayor of London. We believe the Mayor of London should draw upon the experience gained by London to help lead and entrench devolution across the UK. By convening a Metro Mayors Panel the Mayor of London could both help share and encourage collaborative best practice, as well as provide a clear signal that devolution is both here to stay and, crucially, ongoing.
See the Tri Borough Partnership between Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster https://goo.gl/oGyd2b