A report – London 2036: An Agenda for Jobs and Growth – described by its authors, London First and the London LEP, as “the most significant business-led consultation project undertaken to help drive jobs and growth in a UK city” has been launched, setting out the challenges for the next couple of decades.
London2036 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 driving more balanced economic growth across the UK.
Three core themes for successfully developing and safeguarding London’s economy are highlighted in the report: cementing London’s existing strengths as the world’s leading economic and business hub; fuelling more diverse growth by capitalising on the city’s strengths in tech and creativity; addressing the challenges to London’s basic foundations.
The study was produced by London First on behalf of the London Enterprise Panel. They say that while a number of global competitor cities (including Chicago, New York, Rio, and Hong Kong) have developed similar plans, London is the first UK city to do so.
It found that London has a number of inherent advantages already as a hub for business and talent, as well as a centre for creativity and innovation.
But the report 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. It says that swift and decisive action is needed to address the challenges the city faces. It also sets out key metrics to measure future performance between now and 2036 – when London’s population is expected to top 10m.
The report identifies as key challenges pressure on London’s openness to immigration and the UK’s relationship with the European Union, as well as the need for a radical step up in promotion to win emerging market investment, business, visitors, talent and students.
Other threats identified 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.
John Dickie, Director of Strategy at London First, said: “London’s growth has been driven by the ingenuity of Londoners past and present, not because of some kind of grand plan.
“But as cities grow the systems become more complex and cost of failure is higher – that is why we now need a plan to drive London forward.”
Harvey McGrath, Deputy Chair of the London Enterprise Panel, said: “London’s future economic fortunes cannot be taken for granted. London also needs to manage the pressures that come with success – particularly around quality of life and cost of living – that could otherwise threaten London’s attractiveness to investors, talented individuals and even to Londoners themselves.
“And while London’s historic success has been largely organic and unplanned, there are specific areas where targeted actions will undoubtedly deliver better outcomes for London, and with it the rest of the UK.”
Russ Shaw, Tech London Advocates, said: “Today’s announcement rightly puts technology at the heart of London’s economic growth.
“The extraordinary rise of the capital’s technology sector will only continue if key obstacles around talent, infrastructure and funding are addressed.
“With the private and public sector working together I am confident London has the appetite and capability to continue its success.”