Responding to the government’s growth plan announced by the Chancellor, Centre for London Chief Executive Nick Bowes said:
“From first impressions, today’s announcements appear to favour London and the South East, and if I were speaking on behalf of the North or the Midlands I think I’d be pretty disappointed.
However, while London would appear to do well from some of the announcements, the impact is unlikely to be felt equally across the city.
While the most well off are set to gain, many Londoners on the lowest incomes will be left disappointed as they face a cost of living crisis this winter.
How the announcements square with levelling up the North and the Midlands is unclear. Levelling up matters both to those areas but also to London – it’s not in London’s interest for the country to be so reliant on the capital’s economy.
Proposals for investment zones could have a role to play in levelling up – we wait to see if this policy includes the parts of London with the highest poverty levels also in need of levelling up.
However, the jury is out on whether investment zones simply lead to a displacement of activity from elsewhere and a zero-sum game overall.
London’s overheated housing market is already a problem for Londoners.
While a stamp duty cut might initially help some with the cost of buying a home, London’s problem is not a shortage of demand, but a shortage of supply.
For decades not enough homes have been built. Failing to boost supply risks prices surging even higher and quickly swallowing any benefit from reductions in stamp duty.
We welcome support for urgently needed road repairs in London, including the Brent Cross flyover.
But these are still decisions and budgets that should sit with London’s government, not Whitehall.”