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Central London Alliance launched to help revive London economy

© Matthew Foulds

Leading businesses have formed The Central London Alliance (CLA) to combine their resources in support of London’s wider economy and employers in various sectors.

The Central London Alliance (CLA) consists of organisations of all sizes and from different business sectors, to support a sustainable, economic recovery of London’s business, hospitality, cultural, tourism, and retail sectors.

The Alliance has been formed to provide support to employers, offering assistance to help them stabilise their operations and recover during coronavirus and beyond, which will benefit thousands of workers employed across 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 have combined their resources and influence for a safer, faster, and more sustainable recovery of central London and through this the whole of the UK.

Speaking about the launch of the CLA today, Richard Burge, Chief Executive of the London Chamber of Commerce & Industry said, “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.”

The centre of London’s economy generates £211 bn GVA, employing more than 1.9 million people, with a substantial tax surplus that 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 coffers than they receive from central government. This money is crucial in helping to level up the regions of the UK. 

Ros Morgan, Chief Executive of the Heart of London Business Alliance, discussing the launch of the CLA said, “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.

London’s economic power has a wide ranging impact on the rest of the UK, and is central to the recovery effort post-pandemic.

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 – the two are inextricably linked. 

To that end the CLA has identified four specific policy asks from the government to support the recovery of central London:

  1. Provide 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.

  1. Deliver 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.

  1. Give 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.

  1. Help 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.

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”.

Businesses can join the alliance and learn more about its policy manifesto by visiting the CLA website.

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