The City of London's Policy Chairman Mark Boleat responds to the Autumn Statement
Commenting on the Autumn Statement, Mark Boleat, Policy Chairman, City of London Corporation said:
“A commitment to increase the amount of affordable housing in the capital is a great step forward. The £3.15 billion over the next five years will go some way in alleviating a problem which seriously undermines our position as a leading global city. Too many workers in London face problems in finding affordable and suitable housing. Unless we take steps to tackle this problem then it simply drives workers away from London and benefits other leading financial centres, particularly those across Europe. The Housing White Paper and a promise to unlock more land to build on are a good start, but Londoners won’t find this helpful until we have spades in the ground, and affordable really meaning affordable.”
“It was good to see the Government acknowledge the growth of the regions outside of London and the South East. London is all too well aware that its growth requires support from strong, vibrant and successful regions outside of London. Indeed, two thirds of financial and professional services jobs – some 1.4 million – are found outside of London. With regions right across the UK contributing to the services sector, it is important Government engages with these areas to better understand how they can help provide jobs and economic growth. In addition the regions gaining more devolution powers, so too does London want more say and control over how it we support our economy. The adult education budget being devolved to London in 2019 should be welcomed.”
“Ambitious local and national infrastructure developments will be crucial to ensuring the UK can improve productivity - bridging the gap between frontrunners such as the US and Germany. Whilst we welcome these plans, businesses will want to see exactly how an increase in spending on infrastructure will improve turnover and trade links to international investors. The National Productivity Investment Fund is a good move but businesses will want to see quick returns on this across the country.
“While a commitment to roll out 5G is admirable, far too many people find broadband and digital infrastructure poor in comparison to other countries. At the moment London ranks 26th out of 33 European capitals when measured by download speed. Nearly every business relies on reliable and quick broadband but too many find what they are promised is not actually what they get delivered. While the Digital Infrastructure Fund will open up the market for operators, all that consumers and businesses really want is a safe, reliable and secure broadband offer.”
Last Autumn Statement
“The move to one fiscal statement each year will be welcomed by City firms. At a time of great uncertainty for businesses they will now be able to better respond to and plan for forthcoming tax changes each year.”