London businesses want councils to have greater infrastructure and house building powers

  • By AnaBaric

Councils should be given more power to deliver infrastructure and housing in their communities, say the majority of businesses in London.

According to research from London Councils and the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, 80% of businesses surveyed support giving councils more freedoms to fund and build infrastructure. When it comes to funding and building more houses, 78% of businesses surveyed agreed that London councils should have more freedoms to do so.

The figures come from the ‘London Business 1000 Survey’, based upon ComRes polling of 1000 London business decision-makers about the skills and recruitment challenges their companies face.

These high numbers are testament to how the capital’s business leaders see London boroughs playing an important role in tackling the city’s most pressing issues.

London needs 66,000 new homes to be built each year to meet demand from residents, according to GLA projections. The capital is also in urgent need of infrastructure investment such as Crossrail 2 and full fibre broadband.

Cllr Clare Coghill, London Councils’ Executive member for Business, Europe and Good Growth, said:Cllr Clare Coghill

“We are very pleased to be publishing the results of the third year of this successful initiative with LCCI. This year’s survey shows that London businesses are hugely supportive of London’s boroughs having greater powers and freedoms to address the city’s greatest challenges.

“These findings highlight the importance of London local government in delivering much-needed homes and infrastructure, which are crucial to businesses and their staff and therefore play a role in supporting London’s economy.

“Getting more freedoms from central government is increasingly important, as making progress with housing and infrastructure projects will become even more challenging in light of the recent increase in Public Works Loan Board borrowing costs. 

“Using this new polling, London Councils will continue to work with LCCI to make our case to central government for greater devolution to London boroughs.”

Peter Bishop, Chief Executive of London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said:Peter Bishop LCCI Chief Exec

“London has unique housing and infrastructure needs, due to its large and growing population.

“Our latest polling builds on our previous research undertaken with businesses, continuing to show a majority desire for devolution of control and funding from Whitehall to London level in order to tackle some of the capital’s major challenges.”

More than seven in ten businesses surveyed in the London Business 1000 Survey agreed with statements about giving councils greater powers, freedoms and control across a range of service areas.

According to the polling, 70% of London business leaders agree that London’s boroughs should have more control over local taxes, such as council tax and business rates. This level of support was consistent across London’s sub-regions and firms’ turnover, and was strongest in the property and construction industry, with just over three quarters (76%) expressing support.

London Councils has long called for greater funding freedoms and flexibilities to deliver new housing and infrastructure, such as access to right-to-buy receipts and longer-term rent settlement flexibilities.

To read the full London Business 1000 report click here.


Notes to Editors

  1. ComRes interviewed 1000 London business decision-makers by telephone between 14 May and 14 June 2019.  Data were weighted to be representative of businesses both in London and in each of the sub-regions by borough, company size and broad industry sector.  Sole traders have been excluded. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.  Full data tables are available at Any data reproduced from the full report should be fully referenced.
  2. GLA housing need projections can be found here:
  3. The Public Works Loan Board (PWLB) is a statutory body operating within the United Kingdom Debt Management Office, an Executive Agency of HM Treasury. PWLB's function is to lend money from the National Loans Fund to local authorities, and to collect the repayments. This month, the government increased the cost of new borrowing from the PWLB by 1%. This will have a severe impact on the viability of much-needed housing and regeneration schemes currently under development, as well as increasing long-term revenue costs for councils.

Media contacts:

Steven Reilly-Hii, LCCI

T: +44 (0)207 203 1897                     

M: +44 (0)7827 241528

E: [email protected]


Ana Baric, London Councils

T: +44 (0) 20 7934 9776

M: +44 (0) 7584 213019

E: [email protected]