As London's prime business advocacy organsation, we seek to promote and enhance the interest of our members. We regularly respond to consultations and calls for evidence by national and local government and government agencies.
With demographic pressures and the uncertainties of Brexit, the Mayor and the GLA face significant challenges as they seek to ensure our capital remains a great place to set-up, run and grow a business.
During the draft London Plan review process, important decisions will have to be taken to prepare London for the future – not least as the capital is forecast to reach a population of nine million by 2020 and over ten million by 2027 becoming a ‘megacity’.
This response from LCCI will focus principally on those chapters that impact on the three areas of continuing importance to our members; housing, transport and skills.
ULEZ matters to SMEs across London. This month, we have responded to TfL’s consultation on expanding ULEZ to the North and South Circular Roads. LCCI believes that TfL’s ULEZ proposals must strike the right balance between delivering significant improvements to air quality whilst allowing businesses to adapt to changes.
In our latest submission to TfL, LCCI welcomed a new cycle and pedestrian crossing between Canary Wharf and Rotherhithe, on the condition that the new crossing is built alongside road crossings further East.
We welcome the renewed focus on skills and the publication of the first dedicated citywide Skills for Londoners Strategy. London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) will look to play an active role in contributing to a successful skills landscape in London, including through our relaunched Work and Employment Policy Advisory Committee, our research work and polling. In addition to our Young Chamber initiative which places member businesses into schools so that students are able to gain insights into the world of work and career opportunities.
This response will focus principally on the proposals set out within the draft strategy on meeting the needs of London’s economy and employers, now and into the future.
LCCI broadly supports the proposals put forward in TfL’s plans for the transformation of Oxford Street. By 2020 the capital is forecast to reach a population of nine million and London could achieve ‘megacity’ status by as soon as 2027 with over ten million citizens. We need to consider innovative ways to address congestion and transform Oxford Street into a world-class place to live, work and visit. Businesses across London support the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street, but it must be done right with measures put in place to support local businesses who might be adversely affected.
The Mayor has identified the capital’s housing crisis as the “single biggest barrier to prosperity, growth and fairness facing Londoners today”. Addressing this crisis is certainly a priority for London businesses, given the impact it is having on the capital’s business environment. In this response, we focus on the Mayor’s proposals to build more homes, and more affordable homes, as well as touch upon the skills environment that will underpin this effort.
Avoiding a post-Brexit ‘cliff edge’ is a top priority for London business leaders. Post-Brexit, there must be a suitable arrangement in place to regulate Britain’s relationship with the European Union (EU), rather than a fall back on WTO rules (the ‘no deal’ outcome).
London is three times more reliant on foreign workers than the rest of the UK. The damage caused by losing these individuals would be felt particularly in London, which remains the engine of the wider UK economy. It is clear that the departure of EU nationals in particular from the London workforce would be economically harmful, impacting upon various key industries, and putting pressure on public funds.
The capital is forecast to reach ‘megacity’ status by 2030 with over ten million citizens, placing London’s infrastructure – particularly its transport networks - under considerable pressure. investment in infrastructure and a long-term outlook on future need is critical to ensuring that the capital can continue to function, grow and thrive as a megacity of the future.
London is a dynamic, global city. Its competitiveness is, however, at risk as London’s population continues to rise, placing ever greater burdens on its housing supply and transport networks. Positive measures to tackle these issues would send a strong signal to businesses that government is lock-step behind them in its desire to deliver a sustainable competitive business environment.