Croydon Tech City (1)

MQT on 2014-03-19
Session date: 
March 19, 2014
Question By: 
Steve O'Connell
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Are you aware that recent Companies House records show that around 13,000 businesses have been created in Croydon in the last three years?


Answer for Croydon Tech City (1)

Answer for Croydon Tech City (1)

Answered By: 
The Mayor

I am aware of that, Steve, thanks to you for pointing that out.  It is good news.  It is something that is part of amazing things that are happening in Croydon and I congratulate you and the borough for a lot of the hard work you are putting in.  There are obviously a lot of start-ups, maybe thanks to the Free for a Year campaign, which you played a part in supporting 100% relief on rates for the first year of occupation for new businesses.  I support that.


Croydon could be, and already is becoming, one of the great tech hubs of London and we totally support that.


Steve O’Connell AM:  Thank you very much Mr Mayor.  It is pleasing that so many boroughs have increased in businesses, particularly under your Mayoralty.  Also my other borough Sutton has had an increase, but a more modest increase indeed.  However, your point is a well-made point about the aspiration of Tech City that has already grown organically within Croydon and is second only to Hackney in terms of the speed of its growth with a 23% increase.  Indeed one could say that Croydon is becoming the Silicon Valley of the south.


You have a good record of supporting the tech clusters throughout London, particularly in Central London and the East.  There are many advantages there.  Will you add your own energies to supporting Croydon’s tech city and other tech cities that are in the outer London areas?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Yes.  We had a couple of very good sessions about this recently, as you saw.  We had a launch of the new TechHub in the Old Street Roundabout just the other day with Kit [Malthouse AM, Deputy Mayor for Business and Enterprise] and I think that the effect is spreading out beyond Hackney, beyond Shoreditch.  I think the interesting thing now is the whole London effect is starting to spread into other cities in England and you are starting to see, in Manchester, in Birmingham, you are starting to see the growth of these kinds of young dynamic start-up industries.


I think it is very telling when Angela Merkel [Chancellor of Germany] slagged off broadband, or discussed broadband, but she said broadband in Britain is not as good as it should be.  It was a criticism but to my mind that indicated an anxiety in Germany about how Britain, led by London, is actually starting to do far better than Germany in these kinds of new 21st century industries.  I think that augers very, very well for the future.


Steve O’Connell AM:  I know you are doing a lot of work with your Deputy Mayor for Business and Enterprise, because initially the geographic centre of the Tech City concept was relatively narrow, but I think Croydon has shown that it can be spread out into other parts of London and indeed, as you said, to other parts of the country.  You would agree that this would be a good thing for the country?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Yes.  It is all about good transport links and building enough homes and making sure that there are spaces available.  I think your tax discount, your rates relief is a very good idea.  Obviously we put in loads of dosh through the Mayor’s regeneration fund and the growth funds, and I hope that has been helpful.


Steve O’Connell AM:  Thank you, Chair.


Darren Johnson (Chair):  Thank you very much.