London plays a pivotal economic, political and cultural role at the heart of the UK. This report illustrates some of the many ways in which other towns, cities and regions share in the benefits of the capital’s success. It is also a reminder that growth across the country need not be pursued at the expense of London’s economic performance. Regional growth is not a ‘zero-sum’ game, and there are a variety of ways in which different UK cities, towns and regions can complement, rather than compete, with each other.
The report highlights the wide range of measures that London’s politicians, businesses and cultural institutions are already taking to strengthen ties with partners across our country. This is something we welcome and want to build upon.
There is certainly much more work to do to bridge the divide between London and the rest of the nation. While Londoners are immensely proud of the success of our capital city, that sentiment is not always shared across the country. Part of the explanation for this lies in the fact that not enough people feel like they are able to share in the prosperity that London generates. In such politically volatile times, our city’s leaders and institutions have a responsibility to raise awareness about London’s contribution – not only to our national economy, but to our civic life. Only by doing this can we hope to make progress towards a more successful and ‘United’ Kingdom.
As the report also reveals, London does face its own challenges. Whilst there is great wealth in parts of the capital, there are still too many disadvantaged areas where many Londoners are missing out on the chance to reach their potential. London’s own institutions of governance are best placed to meet these challenges but, just like other local government and devolved administrations across the country, more resources and control are needed to effect meaningful change.
Ultimately, this report shows that London’s role is unique. We share many common features and challenges with other parts of the country, and our
success or failure is completely intertwined with that of the wider nation – but our sheer size and growth, as well as London’s perceived dominance, can at times attract scrutiny and arouse a certain level of anger and anxiety. London’s scale clearly offers opportunity, but we should be in no doubt that it also brings with it a responsibility to reach out and engage with other towns, cities and regions. We welcome the challenge to strengthen these connections. London is a creative, inclusive, dynamic city that the entire country should be proud of – and we are committed to making that happen.
Mayor of London
Cllr Peter John OBE,
Chair, London Councils
Cllr Nickie Aiken,
Leader of Westminster City Council
Chair of the Policy and Resources Committee, City of London Corporation