London Manifesto

London’s Mayor needs to focus on backing policies which support job creation in the short term, and develop London’s role as a global city in the longer term.

Briefing published on 20 April 2012 by Centre for Cities

London has the most dynamic economy in the UK, as well as some of the highest levels of inequality in the country.

In a challenging economic climate, London’s Mayor needs to be focused on the city’s economy, backing policies which support job creation in the short term and develop London’s role as a leading global city in the longer term.

The Mayor of London must demonstrate that the city is open for business.

Priorities for the Mayor of London should be:

To act as an ambassador for London as a place for people to live and business to thrive:

The Mayor has a vital role to play in making the case for London and communicating the capital’s importance for the UK’s economic potential. The Mayor should:

• Focus on explaining the city’s pivotal role to Whitehall, to other cities in the UK and to the wider world, helping to attract investment and residents to the city.

• Use the Jubilee and the Olympics to showcase London to the rest of the world. There should be a clear plan for the Mayor to make the most of these opportunities.

To tackle youth unemployment:

That means supporting job creation as well as investing in skills. Too many of London’s young people lack the skills employers look for – in 2011, nearly 40% of London’s students left school without A* to C grades in GCSE Maths and English. The Mayor needs to address this issue immediately. The Mayor should:

• Continue to support policies such as apprenticeships by making them a condition of all GLA contracts, as the current Mayor has done with the London Living wage.

• Work with the London Chambers of Commerce, the Federation of Small Businesses and other business organisations to build a visible campaign to boost awareness of the Youth Contract among employers.

• Use the Mayor’s mandate to campaign for schools to focus on numeracy and literacy as a priority, building on the Evening Standard campaign.

Upgrade London’s infrastructure:

The Mayor needs to continue to improve London’s public transport and aviation systems if London is to attract global investment. The Mayor should:

• Focus on making the existing network more affordable for jobseekers. He or she should work with boroughs, government departments and Work Programme Providers to target concessionary fares to those seeking work.

• Work with Government to ensure the aviation review delivers the best result for London.

Deliver more housing in the boroughs where there is demand for it:

It is critical to ensure that London’s housing does not hold back the economy. The Mayor should look to build more housing in places with high demand, as well as delivering more affordable homes where they are needed. The Mayor should:

• Simplify the process of delivering housing in target areas by removing the regulations and requirements that hinder this process. The Mayor should do this by making the strategic planning system as efficient as possible and work with the boroughs to ensure that their planning departments are working effectively.

• Ensure that Section 106 requirements are proportionate and do not delay or discourage the development of new homes.

• Work with boroughs to make better use of public assets, including public land and buildings, to bring forward development.

• Consider allocating part of the mayoral budget to top up the New Homes Bonus to incentivise housing development in London Boroughs

Advocate the reform of business rates to incentivise more development:

About a quarter of the UK’s GVA is generated in London, demonstrating the importance of a supportive business environment in the capital. Effective reform of the business rates system would allow local authorities to retain a portion of the growth of future business rates and incentivise new development to support business expansion and economic growth.  The Mayor should:

• Champion proposals to reform the business rates system to MPs, Peers and colleagues in Whitehall.

Drive cross-working between the London Boroughs to increase investment available for the whole London:

The Mayor of London has a vital role to play in working with London Boroughs to make the strategic decisions that drive economic growth in the capital. The Mayor should:

• Encourage and facilitate collaboration between London Boroughs to ensure that the difficult decisions on planning, housing and transport policy are made quickly and targeted at the right places for the benefit of the whole of the capital.

• Develop London’s proposals for cross-borough pooling of income streams, such as Business Rates, New Homes Bonus and Community Infrastructure Levy.