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Mayor of London calls for greater devolution to UK cities

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has called for greater devolution to the UK’s cities and regions, saying it would boost economic growth across the country.

Giving London – along with the country’s other cities and regions – greater powers and funding responsibilities would allow local governments to make better spending decisions on housing, transport and infrastructure, he said.

Khan’s statement came as he launched two new reports highlighting London’s contribution to the UK economy, London and the UK – A Declaration of Interdependence and the evidence base for his new Local Industrial Strategy.

Khan said: ‘It’s well established that London is a global city – but it’s also an English city and a British city too. I want to strengthen those ties, which we won’t achieve by making London poorer through cutting levels of investment.

‘Instead, we’ll do it by helping the rest of the country become more prosperous and by developing our network of powerful cities and regions. The data clearly shows that the success of London and the rest of the UK is not – and has never been – a zero-sum game.’

The report London and the UK finds that the capital should not be pitted against the rest of the UK, with public spending per head in London not particularly high compared to the rest of the country.

This is despite the city’s investment needs being significantly greater than other cities due to housing shortages and severe transport congestion.

The evidence for Khan’s Local Industrial Strategy for London, meanwhile, highlights how growth in productivity in London has stalled since 2008’s financial crash.

This has left significant inequalities between the city’s sectors and areas, which Khan argues makes a case for greater devolution.

Chief Executive of London First, Jasmine Whitbread, said: ‘London’s success is often taken for granted, but as these reports show there is a desperate housing crisis in the capital and infrastructure upgrades are urgently needed for the city to continue to create jobs and improve productivity.

‘Infrastructure investment must not be a zero-sum game between London and the regions, as it is vital that the whole of the UK grows together. That’s why the powers and resources of local governments across the country should be increased so that they can make the right spending decisions to boost their region’s growth.’

Photo Credit – Pixabay

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