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How a new Industrial Strategy can enable UK cities to tackle common challenges

Jasmine Whitbread, CEO London First

jasmine-whitbread

Today the government released its Industrial Strategy green paper.  To me the most striking thing, is that cities around the UK – from Belfast to Birmingham and Manchester to Maidenhead – have common cause. Urban areas across the country have joint challenges which can be tackled with the same solutions. We need investment in strategic infrastructure projects such as transport, digital connectivity and housing to create jobs and spur growth locally. It is very encouraging that the government has recognised this need and set out steps in its green paper to foster this investment.

As well as project investment, UK cities also need investment in people – in training and skills – to grow their talent base and continue to thrive. Again, the signs from the government on an ambitious skills agenda look encouraging. This is something London First has campaigned for since our very beginnings.

However, it is important not to forget about the role that London plays in the wider economy. We need to sustain growth in the capital for the benefit of people across the country, not just Londoners. London is a hub for welcoming the best talent from around the world – but we need local control of our skills agenda and taxes in order to achieve this.

This is why we stand by the call to devolve control over taxes raised locally. Our major cities need the ability to give the people on the ground – like the Mayor of London – the ability to fund and finance their own long-term investments.

There will be more from London First in the coming weeks on Industrial Strategy and the best approach to Brexit, and I am looking forward to being on the front foot in responding to government’s consultation.

Read more in our report London 2036: an agenda for jobs and growth.

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