Ahead of the 2021 Budget and Spending Review, London Property Alliance (CPA + WPA) has written to HM Treasury saying that funding and policy support for the capital will be crucial to achieving the Government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda and national prosperity.
In a submission, the Alliance calls for more devolved powers and a more collaborative approach to addressing regional inequality.
Our recommendations, set out in a submission ahead of the Comprehensive Spending Review and Budget on 21 October 2021, call on Government to:
- Allow further fiscal devolution to local government, including the GLA, to facilitate the retention of a greater proportion of business rates revenue and the ability to consider the imposition of other additional levies/additional taxes to support growth.
- Provide a capital funding package to support continued investment in London’s existing public infrastructure, including a continuation of the underground upgrade programme as well as a commitment to ‘active travel’ such as cycle lanes and ebike infrastructure.
- Use London’s inner-city infrastructure as a template for regional city connectivity and consider how the roll-out of light-rail and tram systems can help drive growth and productivity in core cities.
- Restore tax-free shopping for international visitors which can help drive a recovery in tourism in London and other major UK cities.
- Provide three-year additional revenue support package for Transport for London to safeguard services, and to facilitate more innovative and flexible ticket models to help accelerate the return to offices.
- Cap inflationary rail fare increase for 2022 to help sustain the return of office workers and to remove a cost disincentive from commuting into central London and other UK city centres.
- Provide leadership and positive messaging around the return to the office and the broader social economic benefits that brings and implement a consistent and cross-government return to the office strategy.
- Introduce a VAT-exemption for retrofit projects in order to accelerate the transition to net zero and to rapidly increase the energy efficiency of both commercial and domestic buildings.
- Provide dedicated capital grant scheme for complex retrofit projects, particularly those involving listed and historic buildings that are integral to central London’s unique character.
- Consider the provision of additional grant funding to support the development of green homes within central and inner London where land values are highest, and delivery of affordable homes is vital to support key workers.
Charles Begley, Executive Director of London Property Alliance, said: “We are fully behind the levelling up agenda and the need to address regional disparity. However, maintaining London as a leading global city is vital to national prosperity and the Government must ensure it does not overlook the capital’s economic firepower which is vital to UK plc and the ability to support the transformation of regional economies. Put simply, you cannot level up the UK by levelling down London.
“We must continue to invest in central London alongside other major cities in order to futureproof transport infrastructure, lead the path to net-zero, and continue to attract businesses and visitors into the city.”Read our full submission