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One year on: Working with the Mayor to keep London the best place to do business

John Dickie, London First Director of Strategy and Policy

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When Sadiq Khan was elected London’s third Mayor on 5 May last year, the world was a very different place. David Cameron was Prime Minister, George Osborne Chancellor and Britain was a member of the European Union.

Fast forward to today, and Cameron has retired, Osborne has left Parliament to edit the Evening Standard and Boris Johnson, Khan’s predecessor, is the Foreign Secretary. Oh, and Britain is leaving the EU and is in the midst of a snap general election. It’s been a busy year.

Over these past months, London First has been working with the Mayor to keep London as the best city in the world in which to do business.

With the new Mayor’s support, we led a pre-referendum push to get more young Londoners registered to vote, and convened the capital’s tech and creative businesses to come out in force to encourage young Londoners to cast their ballot.

Following the vote to leave, we’ve been working with the Mayor to ensure that London stays open to the world. We’ve been vocal supporters of the Mayor’s #LondonIsOpen campaign, which has been his swift and impressive move to tell the world, post-referendum, what London is really like, and which ties in with our focus on the talent and skills agenda. We have both called on MPs and Peers to protect the rights of EU nationals ahead of the Brexit negotiations.

Over the past year, we’ve also stepped up our campaign to get London building the homes it needs. The Mayor has endorsed our employer housing pledges, which now cover more than 100,000 employees, and which demonstrate businesses’ commitment. We look forward to the Mayor’s forthcoming statutory strategies on housing, planning and transport which will set out his plans to get more homes built in the capital. We will be bringing our members together with the GLA to discuss the new strategies when they start being published after the election: the first such session will be preview of the mayor’s economic development strategy on 13 June.

We’ve also worked with the Mayor to make the case to government for Crossrail 2 and we will be pressing the new government swiftly to begin work on getting the necessary legislation through the next Parliament. Our general election manifesto outlines more broadly what business needs from the new government to keep our capital working for Britain.

In the coming years the new government will rightly be focused on negotiating our exit from the European Union, our new trading arrangements with our European Partners and our new domestic regulatory frameworks. With Whitehall preoccupied we need central government to devolve the powers and resources to tackle our housing, transport and other challenges to our Mayor and his newly-elected city-region mayoral peers, along the lines recommended by the London Finance Commission.

The next year will be crucial, and we are looking forward to working with Sadiq and his team, and our members, in making sure London remains the best city in the world to do business.

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