William Eichler 31 October 2019

London businesses support devolving housing powers to councils

Businesses in London have urged Whitehall to give local authorities more power to deliver infrastructure and housing in their communities.

According to research from London Councils and the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), 80% of businesses surveyed support giving councils more freedoms to fund and build infrastructure.

When it comes to funding and building more houses, 78% of the 1000 businesses surveyed in a ComRes poll agreed that London councils should have more freedoms to do so.

‘We are very pleased to be publishing the results of the third year of this successful initiative with LCCI,’ said Cllr Clare Coghill, London Councils’ executive member for Business, Europe and Good Growth.

‘This year’s survey shows that London businesses are hugely supportive of London’s boroughs having greater powers and freedoms to address the city’s greatest challenges.’

‘These findings highlight the importance of London local government in delivering much-needed homes and infrastructure, which are crucial to businesses and their staff and therefore play a role in supporting London’s economy,’ Cllr Coghill continued.

‘Getting more freedoms from central Government is increasingly important, as making progress with housing and infrastructure projects will become even more challenging in light of the recent increase in Public Works Loan Board [PWLB] borrowing costs.’

The PWLB is a statutory body which lends money from the National Loans Fund to local authorities and collects repayments. This month, the Government increased the cost of new borrowing from the PWLB by 1%.

Peter Bishop, chief executive of LCCI, commented: ‘Our latest polling builds on our previous research undertaken with businesses, continuing to show a majority desire for devolution of control and funding from Whitehall to London level in order to tackle some of the capital’s major challenges.’

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