Capital Matters

Since the UK-wide Referendum in 2016, London businesses have taken a pragmatic and level-headed approach to Britain's exit from the EU.

As Brexit looms on the horizon they will look towards government to bring a similar focus on what needs to be done to ensure that London - and the wider UK - prospers in the years ahead.

For the capital's businesses that means moving to limit uncertainty and maximising opportunity during the Brexit process as well as considering how to ensure London remains a great place to do business. 

London's position as a leading global city cannot be taken for granted. By 2020 the capital is forecast to reach a population of nine million and achieve megacity status by 2030 with over ten million citizens - expansion that will place London's infrastructure under additional pressure:

  • London's chronic housing undersupply impacts on employees and employers
  • London's ageing transport network faces overcrowding and congestion
  • London's ongoing skills gap leaves employers struggling to fill vacancies 

Policy makers will look to steer post-Brexit Britain towards economic prosperity - and maintaining London's competitiveness will be central to that.

The Capital Matters agenda outlines the areas for the new government to get to work on - managing a practical Brexit and tackling the capital's pressing needs - to ensure Britain thrives in a post-Brexit world.

Download our 'Capital Matters' report

We are calling on the Government to:

Provide infrastructure to underpin a megacity

To ensure the future London 'megacity' can function successfully the new government should:

  • Secure Parliamentary time for a hybrid bill to designate Crossrail 2 as major infrastructure of national importance and commence development works
  • Audit and map disused or poor quality land within the Metropolitan green belt to identify 'brownspace' plots of land where small developers can bring forward new housing
  • Boost short-term airport capacity through airfield, terminal and rail-link enhancements and future-proof the UK economy by enabling a new runway at Gatwick, after Heathrow
  • Permit Transport for London (TfL) to seek responsibility for commuter rail services into London as each mainline franchise comes up for renewal

Equip tomorrow's workforce with the skills to compete

To ensure London businesses can compete and succeed, the new government should:

  • Guarantee high-quality work placements for students pursuing a technical route so that young Londoners are equipped to be the skilled employees of tomorrow
  • Improve collaboration with businesses on apprenticeships to overcome hurdles to implementation and enable Levy paying firms to transfer a greater percentage of their funds to their supply chain businesses
  • Prioritise new 'T-Levels' in Construction and Digital areas to help meet the demands of the UK industry and support young people into long-term sector careers
  • Develop a Massive Open Online Course to support smaller businesses develop an effective online presence and active social media engagement

Create a business environment conducive to growth

To help businesses thrive the next Government should:

  • Facilitate greater devolution for London focused on London Finance Commission proposals to help the capital fund future skills and infrastructure needs
  • Undertake a fundamental review of business rates to ensure the tax remains fit for purpose in today's digital age, and give London government greater flexibility over rates administration
  • Review the impact of office-to-residential permitted development rights within the capital and explore how to safeguard essential office and commercial space
  • Encourage greater SME take-up of exporting opportunities through raising awareness of departmental support services and arranging more trade missions and to potential new international markets

Deliver a Brexit that works for London

To make Brexit work for London businesses the new government should:

  • Secure a realistic transitional period for Brexit to enable businesses to adjust to new circumstances and prioritise minimising costly tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade
  • Grant indefinite leave to remain to existing EU national employees within the capital to reassure them and their employers 
  • Establish a separate 'Shortage Occupation List' for London (like Scotland has) and create a 'Capital Work Permits' system to meet employers' future labour needs 
  • Prioritise the preservation of aviation and maritime arrangements with the EU to secure swift market access and maintain London's status as a global hub

Get Connected

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For further information on this report, contact our Policy and Public Affairs Team

Phone+44 (0)20 7203 1918 


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