In January of this year, London First—a non-profit organisation that seeks to influence the policies and decisions made by the government—released a report titled London 2036: An Agenda for Jobs and Growth. The report provides an in-depth analysis on the main priorities to be addressed in order to achieve economic growth within London during a period of a rapidly expanding population—a growth that looks likely to reach an extra 10 million by 2036.
A particular focus on infrastructure, acceleration of housing initiatives and greater employability rates for Londoners over the next 20 years will contribute massively to a prosperous city that is attractive for global leaders to do business with.
The report, produced in conjunction with McKinsey, focuses on three definitive core themes, which calls on businesses, the government and the wider society to action plans for jobs and growth as a collaborative entity. London First’s director of strategy and policy, John Dickie, said, ‘If we make the right decisions now, staying open to skilled and talented people and investing in the homes, transport and digital infrastructure we need, London will continue to grow. With the government, the Mayor and business working together, we can create a more productive London—increasing growth by just one percent generates an extra £150 billion by 2036—meaning more jobs, greater prosperity and stronger public services for the UK as a whole.’
The UK as a global hub
The strength of Britain’s economy lies with the government’s ability to develop and forge excellent trade relationships with global leaders. The success of the UK’s economy and its growth over the next two decades is greatly dependent on the UK’s relationships with EU and non-EU leaders post-Brexit; hinging on its ability to trade and move freely. Part of the city’s success is down to its favourable geographic positioning, with its convenient time-zone and globally-spoken language. Focusing on open trade and easy access to global talent will ensure that London remains an attractive city to do business. This should then go hand in hand in developing employability rates and opportunities for Londoners, says London First for jobs and growth.
London is Europe’s leading hub for financial services, and is second in the world only to the United States. For a prosperous city that remains at the forefront of business and finance, the UK’s government must nurture and continue to develop its strength in the same by working closely with businesses both local and worldwide.
London’s position in travel and tourism are also at the center of its reputation as a highly desirable tourist spot. The London First agenda for jobs and growth release suggests that the government should ‘expand air capacity… increasing visit frequency and helping the city to serve as a gateway to the whole country.’ Sadiq Khan, mayor of London, voiced his support of the development of aviation capacity, looking to back ‘a second runway at Gatwick and reviewing Boris Johnson’s decision on London City.’
The UK as a creative hub
Improving digital connectivity within the city will be a critical component of this strategy if Britain is to rank high as a creative and innovative global leader. The government should work to develop a strategy that delivers a stronger digital infrastructure for high-speed, reliable and affordable connectivity across the city and around the globe. Khan addresses the concept of better connectivity in the city in his manifesto, saying that along with appointing a Chief Digital Officer, he intends to make ‘it a priority to tackle London’s ‘notspots’, ensuring better access to public-sector property for digital infrastructure, and treating digital infrastructure with the same status as other key public utilities.’
The success of London’s growth is also down to its people. We currently have the highest-talent population in the world. With 55 percent of London’s population over 21 being university graduates, the quality of its educational institutions speak for themselves. It is the government’s responsibility to continue to invest in educational reform that will keep attracting talent to fill the current skills gap.
The UK is currently proving to be at the forefront of technology, responsible for around 11 percent of the global Fintech industry, with a market size bigger than the likes of California or New York. London’s leverage as a global tech hub is in its globally recognized clusters of data and analytics specialists—an industry reliant on a foreign workforce.
A city that works
Investing in the city’s, and indeed the country’s, internal infrastructure is key to capital growth within London according to London First’s agenda for jobs and growth. The city will need at least 46,000 new homes built per year and at least a 50 percent increase in public transport trips to cater for the growing population which is projected to increase 18 percent by 2036.
London First reported that 1.26 million people commuted into and within London via public transport in 2014. These numbers will increase by a large margin, so lack of sufficient transport links into the city could mean that 200,00 jobs may be at stake by 2036. While the increase in population does equate to a higher production rate that benefits the wealth of the economy, the government must put the motions for jobs and growth in place in order to carry this growing weight.
Strengthening employability rates of the city’s people is critical for a city that works. The London First agenda for jobs and growth report suggests upscaling efforts to ensure that those who grow up in London have job opportunities available to them in a competitive and ever-changing environment.
If the appropriate developments are made across these core themes, the result could be the creation of 1.4 million new jobs and an extra income of around £150 billion into the economy by 2036. London is a leading hub for financial services, business, technology and creativity; an economic landscape that secures the UK’s position as one of the fastest-growing economic powers in the world. If the government takes heed of London First’s agenda for jobs and growth, Britain will continue this feat.
You can read the full report here: London 2036: An Agenda for Jobs and Growth
London First are a non-profit business membership organisation whose goal is to make London the best city in the world to do business. Representing the capital’s leading employers in financial services, property and transport among others, London First aim to influence national and local government policies and investment decisions.
Learn more at londonfirst.co.uk