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Baroness Valentine: London must not get carried away by ‘tide of optimism’

Baroness Valentine: London must not get carried away by ‘tide of optimism’

London First

3 min read Partner content

The baroness explains how a new report sets out a much needed formula for the capital to achieve 'world-beating income growth'.

At an event attended by more than 200 business leaders, as well as London and central and government representatives, London Firstwill unveil ‘London 2036: An Agenda for Jobs and Growth’.

This report, carried out for the London Enterprise Panel (the Mayor’s business advisory panel), is the result of a year’s work involving over 400 stakeholders.

It sets out a formula for the capital to achieve world-beating income growth, greater job opportunities than rival cities, a diverse and shock-proof economy, more homes and better transportation, as well as more balanced economic growth across the UK.

It couldn’t be timelier: in the early part of 2015 London’s population will surpass its 1939 peak of around 8.6 million and it isn’t going to stop there, with the city expected to swell to over 10 million people in the 2030s.

The report highlights three core themes for successfully developing and safeguarding London’s economy:

1. cementing London’s existing strengths as the world’s leading economic and business hub;
2. fuelling more diverse growth by capitalising on the city’s strengths in tech and creativity;
3. addressing the challenges to London’s basic foundations.

The study comes with the clear message that the strengths and assets that have got the capital to where it is now are not enough to maintain the city’s global leadership position. We need swift and decisive action to address the challenges the city faces today.

It also sets out key metrics to measure future performance between now and 2036 – when London’s population is expected to pass that 10m mark.

Key challenges facing the capital include pressure on London’s openness to immigration and the UK’s relationship with the European Union, as well as an urgent need to radically step up promotion to win emerging market investment, business, visitors, talent and students.

Other threats to the city’s future include a scarcity of UK talent, particularly in the tech sector, as well as easing the strain on London’s infrastructure, and a lack of power devolved to city government.

London is riding a tide of optimism and success at present. But the clear message London 2036 delivers is that the strengths and assets that have got the capital to where it is now are not enough to maintain the city’s global leadership position.

Swift and decisive action is needed to address the challenges the city faces today. The complexity of London means there is no single agency we can call upon to deliver against these priorities; this is a call to action for London as a whole.

The London Enterprise Panel, which brings together London business, government and wider stakeholders, is best placed to lead this delivery.

In doing so it will be reliant on a host of organisations, private and public, whom it can convene but cannot command. We look forward to continuing to work with it on this complex but vital task in the move from analysis to action.

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