The UK is highly centralised, with London government controlling around seven per cent of the tax raised in the city compared with New York’s 50 per cent. London today is a tale of two cities. It is experiencing a period of accelerated growth, but it also contains six of England’s ten most deprived council areas. That means 60 per cent of the poorest boroughs are located in the richest city.
Moving power and money away from London is not the answer. We support the widely-held view that devolving power to local areas to better respond to local challenges is the best solution in the face of falling central government funding and growing demand for services. Below is our vision of how devolution will look, once it has hit the ground running.
Boroughs continue to be responsive to the needs of diverse communities despite severe financial pressures and growing demand for services but change is necessary to ensure that the capital’s current economic success is sustainable, and shared by the widest possible number of its people.
At the same time, London has distinctive challenges. There are more people living here than ever before and the population is rising: we estimate half-a-million new homes are needed to meet future demand; over 80,000 new school places are required by the end of the decade; 465,000 Londoners who want to work have been unemployed for more than six months. Tackling these challenges and others around health, adult social care and infrastructure, is a priority.
London Councils will continue to work with the Mayor and the UK Core Cities group to press for devolution to local areas, creating stronger local economies, responding better to local needs and getting more people into work.
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