04 April 2012

Growing the London Economy

By Boris Johnson"Growing the London Economy" - Boris Johnson's Economy Manifesto

Today I launched my economy manifesto and I wanted you to be one of the first to read it.

We are going through tough economic times, and Londoners are understandably concerned about their jobs and the cost of living. That is why my priorities over the last four years have been cutting waste and bureaucracy at City Hall and ensuring your tax money is put where Londoners want to see it spent.

Despite the impact of the economic downturn, London has remained resilient. The employment rate has grown faster in London than anywhere else in the country. The capital continues to be the economic engine room of the nation, with Londoners generating around 22% of the UK’s economy (measured by gross value added).  This has been driven not only by the large multinationals located here and our financial services, but also by London’s growing creative and digital industries, its small and medium enterprises, and its sole traders.

The millions of people who work in business here have all, in one way or another, contributed to London’s phenomenal success and will contribute to the sustained recovery of the UK economy as a whole.

My predecessor had no economic growth plan for London. Millions of pounds were wasted by his London Development Agency because the LDA lacked credible systems to create economic growth on a cost-effective basis. Instead, he spent more time on flights to Havana and Venezuela than on securing the investment London needs, and more time sniping at and undermining the industries that provide hundreds of thousands of jobs for Londoners than supporting them.

I have changed that. I have relentlessly stood up for the capital, cut unnecessary waste to reinvest in economic growth and secured record funding from No 10. And will continue to do so.

Above all, I will secure a fair deal for London from the Government. It is time to review the funding arrangements for London, to ensure the capital gets back what it deserves. I will therefore set up an independent commission to examine whether it is time to introduce a Barnett style formula for London.

I will:

  • Continue to move London forward, with positive leadership and fresh ideas to bolster London’s premier position as a global city.
  • Help grow Greater London’s economy, protect existing jobs, create new ones, and boost skills and training
  • Safeguard hard-won investment in our transport network, and cut council tax.
  • Establish the London Enterprise Panel across Greater London, and stimulate growth through investment in the Enterprise Zone in the Royal Docks and relief for business rates.
  • Invest £221 million to transform high streets and support small businesses.
  • Launch a new London Growth Fund with the £70 million I persuaded the Chancellor to allocate to London in this year’s Budget, supporting businesses to expand and creating thousands of new jobs.
  • Directly create more than 200,000 jobs for those seeking work, and continue to improve skills by creating on average 1,000 new apprenticeships every week and ensure they benefit from the same travel discounts as full-time students.
  • Continue to support London’s green economy, with plans to deliver a total of 20,000 street trees, restoring 300 acres of green space, and retrofitting tens of thousands of homes to reduce household energy bills by an average of £180 a year.

Every pound possible has been removed from unnecessary bureaucracy and reinvested in economic growth. I have stood up relentlessly for the interests of the London economy, combating pointless red tape and crippling taxes, whether they come from London or Brussels. I have always energetically promoted London internationally.

I have secured record funding from No 10 for the capital’s transport network of more than £20 billion, delivering both the Tube upgrade and Crossrail to create the modern transport network our economy needs, and creating 32,000 jobs in the process. We have also secured the Thameslink upgrade.

I have also transformed opportunities for young Londoners by creating more than 54,000 apprenticeships. I intend to do more and deliver 100,000 new apprenticeships by the end of this year.  I have helped the unemployed get back into work through subsidised travel and expanded the London Living Wage.  I have reduced business crime, and started to transform great swathes of the capital through the regeneration of the Royal Docks and the Battersea, Nine Elms, Vauxhall area, creating jobs and securing new funding to drive even more growth.

Having provided a record number of affordable homes for low and middle income Londoners, I have also secured major new investment powers on housing. Despite a tough spending round I secured more than £3 billion for housing and regeneration, in addition to negotiating the transfer of 530 hectares of land to City Hall at no cost.

We have made progress despite difficult times. At the Mayoral election on 3rd May this progress is at risk. The choice at this election is between taking London backwards, and my plan to ensure we continue to grow our economy, working constructively with the private sector to create jobs, drive investment and make London the best city to live in.

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