According to cross-party MPs in London, the government must use the upcoming budget to help support economic growth in the capital.
The group, from the All-Party Parliamentary Group, have said that the capital is a “vital cog in driving the UK’s future” and has announced its hopes to see measures in the Budget that will allow businesses in London to create new opportunities and support the group’s shared priorities.
These shared priorities include:
- Using the modernisation of services and investment in infrastructure to safeguard the future of London’s transport network. This is crucial for the encouragement of economic activity in the city, as well as improving connections with other locations around the UK. Examples include projects such as Crossrail 2, the West London Orbital, and extending the Bakerloo Line.
- Making London, alongside other UK locations, more attractive to overseas shoppers by reintroducing tax-free shopping for tourists. This priority is supported by a parliamentary report from 2022, which said that it was “short sighted and incredibly damaging” of the government to remove tax-free shopping in 2021.
- Continuing to support Londoners with energy bills, including through the Energy Bill Relief Scheme for businesses. This is important as the government is currently planning to decrease its support for non-domestic organisations in April.
- Removing the barriers that are stopping businesses from cresting apprenticeships by reforming the Apprenticeship Levy. The group has said that employers across London complain about inflexibility with regard to the government’s rules in how the Levy can be used, whilst 86% of firms in the city don’t employ any apprentices according to a major survey last year. This has the potential to cause major problems for London’s future skills capacity and opportunities for employment.
Alongside calling for the government to support economic growth in the city and recognise the major contribution it makes to the UK’s overall economic performance, the APPG has also called for London to be given further powers and resources that it needs to tackle ongoing issues. This would include further devolution.
Co-Chair of the APPG, Sir Bob Neill MP, said:
“The Budget is a chance for the Chancellor to show he recognises London as an invaluable national asset. Rather than try to level London down, the government must do everything it can to get London back in business.
“The capital is a vital cog in driving the UK’s prosperity, but the government cannot afford to take London’s contribution for granted.
“We want London to be the best city in the world to live, to visit, and to run a business. To achieve that, the Budget must bring fresh support for London’s economic recovery and help the capital overcome its immense challenges.”