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Budget day: “We mustn’t pull London down”

Today’s Budget contained some positives for the Capital, but perhaps the most important element was the Chancellor’s statement that “We can’t pull the nation up by pulling London down”. This reflects a growing acceptance of the important role London plays in driving the UK economy.

In terms of individual announcements for London, the Budget contained:

  • £97m support for the regeneration of Brent Cross, to unlock 7,500 homes and support 27,000 jobs;
  • £1m for London Land Commission to create a comprehensive database of public sector and brownfield land;
  • £7m to GLA to support the development of the Croydon Growth Zone, to unlock over 4,000 homes and more than 10,000 jobs;
  • Devolving further powers over planning and skills to the Mayor of London – the government will consult on devolving planning powers over sightlines and wharves to the Mayor of London, allowing the Mayor to accelerate provision of new homes by reducing planning delays);
  • £16m from Transport for London (TfL) for the development of the Croxley rail link to extend the Metropolitan Line on the London Underground to Watford Junction on the West Coast Main Line.

You can read the full Budget here.

For full details of our General Election priorities, read London First’s Manifesto for Jobs and Growth.

 

BUDGET ANALYSIS:

Baroness Jo Valentine, Chief Executive of London First:

“The key message for London from the Budget was the Chancellor’s assertion that ‘we can’t pull the nation up by pulling London down’. The health of London’s economy directly impacts the rest of the UK. London contributes £34 bn more to the Treasury than it takes out every year, because it’s a global magnet for talent and investment.

“We welcome the Chancellor’s emphasis on creating a Northern powerhouse. It is important for London that the rest of the country flourishes and it is right that London should contribute to making that happen.

“But we need to make sure London remains in a position to do that. The capital itself is under strain: it is growing by a million people a decade.

“We need to plan for long-term investment in London’s transport, commensurate with that population growth, including airport expansion and Crossrail 2.

“While I welcome recognition of our house-building challenges, we’ve seen repeated increases in housing targets without corresponding increases in actual homes being built. Housing costs are now seen as one of the top threats by businesses.

“We now look to whomever is in charge after the election to take London’s importance to the whole economy – and the need to invest to support our population growth – to heart when they announce the next spending review.”

Jonathan Seager, head of housing policy at London First:

“It is good news that the Mayor of London will get greater powers over planning and the ability to develop the riverside wharves: the challenge is to ensure it leads to a step change in house building in London.

“It’s important central government realises the full extent of the problem – we are only building half the homes we need in London as the population rises at a record rate.

“London’s recent success cannot continue unless we address the housing crisis. Our research shows housing costs are now seen as one of the top threats by businesses because it’s making it increasingly difficult to live and work in the capital.

“We have long called for a 21st Century Domesday Book of unused public land – and we are happy Mr Osborne has set aside £1m to coordinate the release of it. This will help get more land into the market to support an increase in house building.”

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