The Central London Alliance (CLA), consisting of organisations of various sizes and sectors, has launched to support a sustainable, economic recovery of London’s business, hospitality, cultural, tourism, and retail sectors. The Alliance is set to help employers stabilise and then recover during coronavirus and beyond, benefitting thousands of workers employed in central London.
Formed by the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Heart of London Business Alliance, and Blue Orchid Hotels, the CLA is a collection of London businesses large and small, communities, charities, associations, and authorities. The CLA are pooling their resources and influence for a safer, faster, and more sustainable recovery of central London and through this the whole of the UK.
The centre of London on its own generates £211 bn GVA, employs 1.9 million people and generates a substantial tax surplus which funds the delivery of public services, such as schools, hospitals, and railways, across the country. London and its surrounding areas are the only part of the UK to contribute more to the public purse than they receive from central government. This money is crucial to levelling up the regions of the UK.
London’s economic contribution to the UK
- Hosts over 1.9 million jobs
- Generates a GVA of £211 billion
- Houses over 300,000 residents
- Generates £4.6 billion in business rates
When London prospers, so does the rest of the UK – and the two are inextricably linked, with the CLA having identified four specific policy asks from the government to support the recovery of central London. These include:
- Providing London sector specific help
Substantial sector specific support for central London businesses that cannot operate profitably or reopen due to Covid-19 restrictions; and wider support for businesses in the event of Government imposing lockdown measures on London.
- Delivering London specific messaging
Clear, precise, consistent messaging from Government on what its Covid-19 measures and advice mean for London, especially on whether London can be visited safely and sustainably. Government should be clear about what people are still allowed to do, not just what they cannot, and back up its announcements with detailed briefings on the impact of lockdown measures on London and other large metropolitan areas.
- Giving Central London the Transport It Deserves
Better transport that is affordable, sustainable, safe, and keeps central London flowing. In the short term, temporary travel incentives to nudge people back into Central London, flexible ticketing that mirrors the new commuter and removal of the extended congestion charge. Looking more long-term for Government and City Hall to work together to agree a 5-year settlement that puts sustainability at its centre.
- Helping London compete globally
A suite of measures to keep central London a flagship global destination over the medium and long term, attracting international visitors, boosting its competitiveness, and benefitting the whole of the UK. Measures include increased tourism marketing budgets, extended Sunday trading and visa reforms for global visitors.
Ros Morgan, Chief Executive of the Heart of London Business Alliance, commenting on the launch of the CLA said today, “The launch of the Central London Alliance sends a clear message that the capital city has the leadership and appetite to recover. Central London has so much to offer in terms of culture, retail, and leisure. Central London’s dynamic businesses and rich culture and experiences are not merely job creators: they are critical to the UK’s global competitiveness.”
“If the country is to recover and grow stronger in the longer term, we must all work together to get London firing on all cylinders as quickly and safely as possible. That is the overriding goal of the CLA,” concluded Morgan.
Richard Burge, Chief Executive of the London Chamber of Commerce & Industry continued, “Central London means so many things to so many people across the world. Its economy is the beating heart of our capital and our country. It powers global trade, enterprise, and investment. It is the hub of British tourism.”
“The role of the Alliance is to gather together the expertise and passion of those within central London to ensure this recovery happens sooner and sustainably. Let us talk about what we can do and see London coming together to safely drive the recovery.”
Tony Matharu, founder and Chairman, Blue Orchid Hotels and Integrity International Group commented, “London is an unrivalled city and a global leader for business, culture and innovation; renowned and admired across the world for its enterprise and dynamism”.
“It is also resilient and now requires policies, support and positive action to enable it to remain the much loved and admired global city safely enjoyed by so many and to thrive in prosperity and health of both the capital and for the rest of the country”.
With London’s economic recovery crucial to the overall UK-wide rebound, businesses are looking for government support to kickstart investments with new flexible arrangements to best manage COVID-19 in the coming months and years.