London recovery manifesto

This is a manifesto for London's recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit London hard. Initial outbreaks of the virus were concentrated in the capital, lockdown saw the city’s streets become eerily vacant, and they remained underpopulated through the summer. As we head into winter and the huge economic impact of the pandemic begins to become clear, London faces both new challenges arising from the crisis, and existing challenges that have been intensified and made more urgent by it.

This manifesto identifies some urgent priorities for action, to address the specific impacts on different people and places across London, and to help them ready themselves for further disruption ahead.

Key recommendations

  1. Support better jobs and a fairer labour market – The government should prepare workers for the growth sectors of the future through a renewed focus on lifelong learning, and give targeted support to people most distant from the labour market or with qualifications that no longer meet the needs of London’s employers.
  2. Create space for next generation business – The government should consider creating urban enterprise zones, offering business rate relief and capital allowances for start-ups locating to city centres, as well as enhanced support for businesses to take on people who have lost jobs during the pandemic.
  3. Turbocharge new urban mobility – The Mayor of London and London boroughs should make space for more e-scooters and e-bikes, alongside walking and cycling, with city-wide standards for storage and use. The Mayor should also work with the government to review new ways to fund transport services, particularly distance-based road user charging.
  4. Rethink living spaces – The government should consider increasing the level of local housing allowance for private renters on low incomes, so that adequate living and working space is not just a privilege for the wealthy.
  5. Bring the world back to London – The Mayor and the government should work together to develop immigration regimes that help maintain low-friction access to the city for entrepreneurs, key workers and young people. The government should also introduce culture vouchers to bring crowds back to live performance venues.
  6. Revitalise governance and reset devolution – The government should give the UK’s cities and regions, including London, the capacity to create their own recoveries, such as through new devolution deals. London’s town centres also need new governance models that bring residents and businesses together to plan and realise their future.