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London Councils award £47m boost to improve digital infrastructure

London Councils has awarded £47m to fund major projects to improve digital infrastructure in the capital.

The £46.83m comes from the business rates retention scheme currently being piloted in London and will fund eight projects to boost economic growth in London.

The main focus is on digital infrastructure, with the projects including installing fast fibre-optic broadband connections in strategic locations, developing an Open Data Standard for planning applications and establishing an internet of things platform to gather data relevant to councils.

Over £11m will be spent on projects delivered by the West London Alliance to improve skills, productivity and digital investment in the area, including extending high speed fibre networks and targeting internet ‘not-spots.’

Nearly £8m will go to Local London for investment in fibre-optic broadband and £4m will go to the South London’s Internet of Things platform which will gather data such as air quality, traffic, footfall and parking space availability.

Cllr Peter Jones OBE, chair of London Councils, said: “London boroughs, the City of London Corporation and the mayor are determined to ensure that the business rates funding we receive delivers strategic benefits to London’s business community.

“Today’s announcement shows that we have our finger on the pulse in terms of what London needs – digital infrastructure worthy of a 21st century global city.”

London Councils represent the 32 boroughs of London and the City of London Corporation and, alongside the mayor, have argued for 100% business rates retention.

In 2017, they established the London Business Rates Pool in an agreement with central government, meaning 100% of any growth in business rates income above the baseline set by the government for the financial year 2018/19.

London’s chief digital officer, Theo Blackwell, said: “These investments reflect the mayor and the boroughs’ new city-wide commitment to improving digital connectivity.

“We are mobilising new investment to support businesses and citizens by working closely with councils to improve customer choice and target ‘not spots.’

“Our work together sets solid foundations for future 5G technologies in London, which will create new jobs and make London a smarter city.”

Other projects receiving funding include £8m to the South London innovation corridor, a £5,75m in the Productive Valley area of South Tottenham and a £3m Euston recruitment hub.


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