Centre for London Chief Executive Nick Bowes writes to Liz Truss on how to approach London‘s challenges and why it’s time to stop scapegoating the city.
Congratulations on becoming Prime Minister.
You are taking on the leadership of the country at one of the most challenging periods in our recent history. We all wish you well in the difficult months ahead.
As Chief Executive of Centre for London, the city’s think tank, it won’t surprise you that I’m writing to make the case for the capital in your new administration.
London has had a successful thirty years or so, as you’ll know only too well from your time as a councillor in Greenwich and having lived here for many years.
But the city is not without its own deep challenges – by some measures London has the worst poverty and deprivation in the country.
And the city’s success is vital to the nation’s economic success – quite simply, delivering on your government’s agenda won’t be possible without the tax revenue generated by London.
Getting the approach to London right is therefore critical. On the one hand, acknowledging and responding to the city’s social challenges while, at the same time, ensuring London’s economy continues firing on all cylinders.
This starts with tone. I call on you and your new administration to avoid scapegoating London. I genuinely fear that negative rhetoric risks stoking up division between the city and the rest of the country that ultimately becomes hard to contain.
Londoners need your help. The current cost of living crisis comes on top of the city being already one of the most expensive places in the UK, especially for housing. Many of them face severe poverty. Your efforts to support households and level up all parts of the country must include London.
And keeping London’s economy going will need your support to keep the city moving. Everybody breathed a sigh of relief at the recent TfL funding deal. But to avoid managed decline of London transport, your government will need to work with the Mayor to avoid strikes and future-proof the network.
I very much hope we get the opportunity to reconnect. At Centre for London, we stand ready to assist in any way we can to help make London a better place for everyone who lives and works here.