National economic recovery from the consequences of the pandemic cannot happen without a strong recovery in London. Before the crisis, London contributed a fiscal surplus of £39 billion to the UK economy. We set out an investment case for a combination of direct funding, access to project finance and greater operational flexibility to enable London boroughs to play their part. This includes asking government to:
Take immediate steps to shore up London’s economy
- Support for business, workers and customers through a targeted extension of the schemes for rates reliefs and grants, job retention and customer confidence.
- Allocating the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and allowing devolved areas collectively to determine how best to spend it.
- Extending the ‘Reopening High Streets Safely Fund’ to enable enhanced public realm management for councils, police, security staff, marshalls and trading standards.
Equip boroughs to drive the green recovery
- Investing £350 million immediately to support the £950 million already committed by boroughs to 375 retrofitting projects in 2020/21 that will create more than 2,000 skilled green jobs,
- Build on this for the future through a £1 billion multi-year programme, a targeted PWLB rate and new financing mechanisms to retrofit all buildings – homes, commercial and industrial.
- Create a national £1.5 billion Clean Air Fund to enable cities to implement Clean Air Zones.
Boost housing delivery in London
- Local flexibility to increase rents by up to CPI + 1%, or more where they can demonstrate a positive correlation between additional house building and housing benefit reductions.
- Complete flexibility over the use of Right to Buy receipts.
- Devolving skills and employment, as set out in the Skills for Londoners Call for Action.
- Devolving the Apprenticeship levy and setting up a London Apprenticeship Service.
Investing in London’s strategic infrastructure and roads
- Funding the National Infrastructure Assessment, which would go a long way to promoting an increase in public transport and getting London back to work.
- Devolving Vehicle Excise Duty to help fund much-needed investment in London’s highways.