London Chamber of Commerce

Mayoral elections– the key asks and issues of the capital’s firms

The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) published its mayoral manifesto outlining the London business community’s key asks of the next London Mayor ahead of the Mayoral election.

The London Chamber of Commerce, which champions the interests of over 8,000 London businesses, has acute knowledge of the key issues affecting those businesses and therefore feels it is imperative that the successful candidate engages with the recommendations set out in its manifesto in order to secure the capital’s future prosperity and growth.  

The manifesto incorporates the aggregated insights of LCCI’s diverse membership base as well as the results of a recent survey of 519 London businesses, providing a clear picture of businesses’ policy priorities for the next London Mayor. Business leaders want the next London Mayor to prioritise pro-business initiatives such as greater investment in infrastructure, job creation, entrepreneurship, tackling business crime, and making London a more attractive place for workers.

The key policy positions were:

Transport

London is home to one of the most expansive transport networks in the world. Transport for London (TfL) services facilitate the movement of people, goods, ideas and innovation across the city – they are critical to sustaining business operations and growth. More than half of all businesses surveyed (52%) in 2023 think the next Mayor should prioritise the upgrade of the existing Tube network and therefore LCCI is calling for a long-term capital funding settlement for TfL to provide vital upgrades to the existing network.

If road user charging is to continue in London there needs to be one simple road charging scheme rather than a plethora of such schemes, and it is vital that road user charging should not penalise commercial vehicles, nor be introduced without adequate implementation time.  

The transition to electric vehicles (EV) is essential for reaching net zero targets, but London’s infrastructure is not currently equipped to deal with this transition. LCCI wants the next Mayor to prioritise better EV charging infrastructure for commercial vehicles such as HGVs.

Planning

Around 40% of business leaders believe increasing the number of affordable homes in London should be a priority for the next Mayor. With London firms struggling to fill vacancies, this skills crisis has been made worse by the lack of affordable homes for key workers. LCCI wants to see the Mayor increase the number of homes in the capital whilst also recognising the importance of protecting land for industry and logistics. 

Adult education

For Londoners wanting to enhance their economic opportunities, and for businesses who want to see the current skills gaps closed, the Greater London Authority’s (GLA’s) adult education budget is  a crucial driver for positive change. However, there is an acute need to modernise and reform training provisions in London and to integrate it with R&D work that takes place in the capital.

This includes the wider provision of agile, flexible training provision which fits the needs of learners, businesses and training providers in the 2020s.

The Chamber believes that the proposals in the Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) are steps in the right direction, but would like to see clearer accountability and delineation for the adult education budget in future GLA reporting structures.

Business growth

More innovative funding solutions can unlock growth for London businesses and LCCI would like to see the next London Mayor work with businesses to develop additional, and innovative funding streams that complement and work alongside the GLA core budget. These include funding solutions in partnership with the private sector such as, for example, the use of sukuks, which enable greater investment collaboration to occur within a secure bond
like framework.

Crime

The Home Office must fully fund the Metropolitan Police and ensure that funding allocations meet the needs of London’s community and businesses.

The impact of business crime has become one of the largest cost pressures for many London businesses, in particular the capital’s local high street shops, which serve as a pillar of London’s economy. It is hoped that tackling business crime will be a key strand of the Metropolitan Police’s plans for improving policing in London.

Championing the city

London is the preeminent global city for business, bringing together an unrivalled mix of talent, capital, expertise, culture, learning and creativity. It is essential that we have a holistic approach to marketing London to the rest of the world and we urge the Mayor to work with London and Partners and the Government to do this effectively.

London is brilliantly placed to lead the UK’s economic recovery: a successful London is good for the whole of the UK. But to do that, it needs to have in place the pro-growth policies that will attract foreign direct investment and in turn help it prosper.

Equality, diversity and Inclusion 

Institutional discrimination remains a fact of life for many communities across the capital, particularly when it comes to businesses. LCCI published a landmark report, Ethnic Diversity in Business: Removing barriers impeding business success (2022), which addresses some of the key issues facing ethnic minority-led businesses.

In order to create a more equitable environment for businesses in London, the next Mayor must ensure ethnic minority owned businesses have equal access to finance, such as from the Mayor’s grants and loan finance programmes. The Chamber also urges the Mayor to accept all of the proposals from the Federation of Small Businesses and LCCI which relate to procurement processes.

Commenting on the Mayoral Manifesto, Karim Fatehi MBE, Interim Chief Executive Officer of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), said:

“London contributes to over 20% of the UK’s GDP and despite difficulties facing our capital, London remains the global centre for business.

“With the right policies in place, the next Mayor of London and the London Assembly have the opportunity to protect London’s position as a leading global city, but they must engage with the concerns of businesses and develop a long-term strategic plan to ensure businesses have the right operating context to unlock growth and productivity. The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry looks forward to working with the Mayor to build a resilient, dynamic, and prosperous London economy where businesses can thrive.”

Visit the website to read the full manifesto or visit www.londonchamber.co.uk


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