Mayor welcomes Budget that recognises London's extraordinary potential

18 March 2015

The Mayor of London has welcomed commitments made in today’s Budget (18 March) that he says illustrate very clearly that the Government fully understands the extraordinary potential of London. He paid particular tribute to the benefits they will provide for outer London including a seismic boost for the regeneration of Croydon, where a new Growth Zone will create over 23,000 new jobs.

In today’s Budget, commitments made by the Government included:

Skills co-commissioning: The Government confirmed that the Greater London Authority will take over take over joint commissioning of Skills Funding Agency funding and incentives for FE colleges and other providers; and a co-commissioning and priority setting role in the National Careers Service.

London Land Commission: It was confirmed that the Government will provide £1m to help establish a Commission with the role of helping to ensure that the capital’s surplus public sector land and property, as well as brownfield sites, are developed. The Commission will be jointly chaired by the Mayor and a Government Minister, with representatives of public bodies. The Greater London Authority has already released 90 per cent of the developable land in its ownership to boost housebuilding, including the redevelopment of former hospital sites in Tower Hamlets, Greenwich and Croydon, and the Mayor last week inviting bids to redevelop the former Parcel Force site adjacent to West Ham tube station, now in GLA ownership, for approximately 2,000 homes.

Croydon Growth Zone: The regeneration of Croydon remains a key aim for the Mayor. Today the Government indicated £7m of support for a Croydon Growth Zone that will help plug a gap of £95m of infrastructure investment and generate at least 23,000 net new jobs with a further 5,000 jobs during the construction period, along with at least 8,000 new homes in central Croydon by 2031. The Growth Zone builds on the Mayor’s ongoing commitment to Croydon as a key location for housing and economic growth in London; through the Mayor’s Regeneration Fund, £22m is being invested towards a £29m programme to support growth and vitality in the town centre.

Brent Cross Cricklewood: Today the Government confirmed they will contribute £97m towards the financial costs of building a new station that has the potential to spark one of the largest and most exciting development and regeneration opportunities in the country, and ring fence the local 50 per cent share of business rate growth. The scheme will help double the size of Brent Cross Shopping Centre, provide 7,500 new homes and support 27,000 jobs.

Croxley Rail Link: A plan has been agreed to extend and fund the Metropolitan Line from Croxley to Watford Junction, via Watford High Street and two new stations.

Science: The government has already made major investments in science in London, including the Francis Crick Institute and Alan Turing Institute. In news welcomed by MedCity today it was confirmed that the government will reinvest up to £30 million from the sale of Medical Research Council assets to support research at the Francis Crick Institute, with matched funding from Cancer Research UK and the Wellcome Trust. MedCity was launched by the Mayor to help position London and the greater south east of England as a world leading, interconnected region for life science research, development, manufacturing and commercialisation.

Riverside wharves: The Government confirmed plans to devolve planning powers over wharves to the Mayor, releasing them from safeguarding by Whitehall regulations. That means the Mayor will be able to potentially take forward new developments for new homes and commercial use. The nine wharves proposed for release are:

  • In Bexley; Mulberry Wharf, Railway Wharf and Town Wharf.
  • In Newham; Priors Wharf, Mayer Parry Wharf and Sunshine Wharf.
  • In Barking and Dagenham; Welbeck Wharf and DePass Wharf.
  • In Havering; Phoenix Wharf.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “The commitments made by the Government today shout very loudly and clearly that they fully understand the extraordinary potential of London, and that they share our goal of ensuring the capital remains fit to power the UK economy for decades to come. By investing in schemes that will speed up the building of hundreds of thousands of new houses, deliver vital new transport improvements and generate thousands of new jobs we are able to forge ahead with plans that will benefit hard-working Londoners in every part of the capital and help safeguard our city’s prosperity.”

The commitments made by the Government today follow on from the joint announcement last month by the Mayor and the Chancellor of the Exchequer of a Long Term Economic Plan for London that set out how the capital can stimulate new jobs, make major improvements to transport systems, open up new sites for housing and improve the skills of Londoners.

In that plan Transport for London were asked to come forward with proposals for new infrastructure projects and there were warm words of support in today’s Budget for future investment, with the Mayor particularly keen to bring forward plans for Crossrail 2. The six point Long-term Economic Plan for London has transport investment at its heart and aims to add £6.4bn to the London economy by 2030, creating more than half-a-million extra jobs over the next five years. To deliver the programme the Chancellor committed, if re-elected, to provide capital investment funding of £10bn from 2015/16 to 2020/21. The Government also asked TfL to come forward with prioritised proposals for new infrastructure projects including Crossrail 2, the Bakerloo line extension, the Old Oak Common development, the next phase of Underground upgrades, Lower Thames Crossing and East London river crossings, which would be funded separately.

The Long Term Economic Plan also backed plans for a world class new centre for music in the capital that would rival those built in other major cities across the world. Plans were also set out to help London meet its need for over 400,000 new homes as backed up by today’s confirmation of funds for a London Land Commission.