London is the engine of the UK economy, accounting for more than a fifth of the country’s economic output. Its labour market, housing market and transport links are interconnected with the Wider South East city region, which shapes the development of the whole of the UK. Together, London and the Wider South East contribute a full half of the country’s output. London has unique strengths in specialist fields like finance, business services, technology, creative industries and law, as well as attracting tourists from around the world, providing a gateway to the rest of the UK. The wealth this generates is essential to keeping the whole country functioning, but the benefits of economic success are not shared evenly within London itself.
The things that make London’s economy so strong are the same things that make London an attractive and exciting place to live, work and visit. London’s ethos of tolerance and respect, its rich cultural and historic assets, the quality of its streets and public places, its spirit of creativity and entrepreneurialism – these things attract businesses of all sizes and allow them to develop and thrive. The people who these businesses employ need strong communities, pleasant environments that promote good health, and good quality, affordable homes in places they want to live. The continuing success of London’s economy is reliant upon making the city work better for everyone.
Projected growth towards 6.9 million jobs by 2041 provides an opportunity to strengthen London’s economy for the future, and doing so will depend on increasing diversification. The Central Activities Zone and Northern Isle of Dogs will remain vital to London’s economic success, but growth in town centres across London will be equally important, supporting local regeneration. Reasonably-priced, good quality employment space will be needed across London to make this happen.
The right infrastructure is also required to help businesses succeed across London. The digital economy, underpinned by world-class digital connectivity, data and digital services is of ever-increasing importance, improving processes, opening up new markets and allowing more flexible working. Convenient transport connections and street, rail and waterway networks that allow the efficient movement of goods and people are also vital, alongside the schools, healthcare facilities and other amenities that employees need to be healthy and productive.
To conserve and enhance London’s global economic competitiveness and ensure that economic success is shared amongst all Londoners, those involved in planning and development must:
- promote the strength and potential of the wider city region.
- seek to ensure that London’s economy diversifies and that the benefits of economic success are shared more equitably across London.
- plan for sufficient employment and industrial space in the right locations to support economic development and regeneration.
- ensure that sufficient high-quality and affordable housing, as well as physical and social infrastructure is provided to support London’s growth.
- ensure that London continues to provide leadership in innovation, research, policy and ideas, supporting its role as an international incubator and centre for learning.
- promote and support London’s rich heritage and cultural assets, and its role as a 24-hour city.
- maximise London’s existing and future public transport, walking and cycling network, as well as its network of town centres, to support agglomeration and economic activity.