CWL 2018: West London is a UK powerhouse, says Professor Tony Travers

The great strength of the West London economy was laid out at the sub-region’s Growth Summit, along with ideas on how to grow it further.

Professor Tony Travers, Director of LSE London, said that London as a whole makes up a quarter of the UK economy, 56 per cent more than Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland put together. And that the West London economies together were greater than Manchester, Liverpool and the West Midlands individually.

Prof Travers hailed the London economy further, saying public spending in the capital compared to its share of the economy is very low. “It is worth bearing this in mind over debates about whether London gets too much public spending – it doesn’t, as a share of its economy,” he said.

He added: “Agriculture, which gets a lot of attention, is tiny compared to the economies of West London. It is small but emotionally driven and so focused on, rather than those bringing in the GDP. West London is a key and expanding element within the city as a whole.”

However, Prof Travers pointed out that the sub-region should not rest on its laurels.

“West London is in the Greater South East region, one of the largest economic agglomerations in the world but there are still areas of significant needs.”

Housing, transport and public realm are all key priorities and measures are in place to drive regeneration. Prof Travers referred to the capital’s Opportunity Areas of which a “significant number are in West London” and which had much potential linked to Crossrail 2.

However, he added: “Some parts of West London are not easily reached by each other, you need to be able to get from one part to another without having to go into London.”

Housing in the area will see a boost thanks to two new initiatives.

Prof Travers said: “The Budget confirmed changes in the housing revenue account and that will give a substantial boost to housing and housing delivery.”

Earlier in the day, Councillor Julian Bell referred to the major announcement this month that West London was to receive £300m in funding from the London Mayor for council house building.

Prof Travers also welcomed the work of the West London Alliance, saying it was “helping articulate the needs of West London and reinforcing the impact of the area within London”.

In response to a question, he added: “There can be devolution which respects the resources of the sub-region and can be used at sub-regional/local level. The public trust people better at local and sub-regional level. National government hoards power and finds it difficult to distribute it.”

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