Ed’s comments at the London First event on London’s economy and infrastructure

Speaking at a London First event on London’s economy and infrastructure, Ed said:

“It is vital that we rebalance our economy and make sure the recovery reaches every part of the country. We need to ensure all working people start to feel some benefit from economic recovery.

“That’s why our plan will devolve more economic power and funding to city and county regions across England, so that they can drive growth, invest for the future and create more good jobs.

“But we neglect the importance of London’s economy at our peril. It’s where almost one in five jobs and businesses in the UK are located.

“As an MP in Yorkshire I am clear that we need London to be a successful global city if we are going to be a successful country. The whole of Britain benefits from London’s growth and dynamism. We should have no truck with the argument that if the rest of the country is to get more jobs and investment then London needs to be less successful. It’s not a zero-sum game.

“But for London to continue succeeding as a global city I believe we need to remain engaged in Europe. London’s professional and financial services, advanced manufacturing and creative industries depends on our access to the European single market.

“Walking out of the EU would be a disaster for London. It would put our capital’s future success at risk – costing us jobs and trade, investment and influence.

“Britain exiting the EU is now the biggest risk to London’s prosperity in the coming years. I don’t see how any Mayor of London could ever advocate us leaving Europe if they were really putting the interests of this great city first.

“While many parts of our capital’s economy have gone from strength to strength, London has certainly not been immune from the squeeze on living standards in the last few years.

“Far from it. The cost-of-living crisis has affected millions in our capital, with working people on average over £3,200 a year worse off since 2010. That’s the biggest fall in real wages of any region of the country. And it has been exacerbated by high and rising housing costs – for renters and buyers alike.

“We won’t solve this living standards crisis in London without building many more homes which Londoners can afford to buy. That’s why I’m clear house-building will be a top priority for a Labour Treasury. We have an ambitious plan to build 200,000 more homes a year – and many of those will need to be in London.

“Too often as a country we have dithered and delayed on the big decisions we need to take for the future.

“Just look at airport capacity in London and the south east. This government kicked that decision into the long-grass by setting a timetable for the Davies review to report after the election. It should have reported before now.

“It’s a vital issue for London’s economy, yet the Chancellor and the Mayor somehow launched an economic plan for London last month which didn’t mention airports once. That is the opposite of a long-term approach – a simply staggering omission.

“As I said last year, the next Labour government will make a swift decision on expanding airport capacity following the Davies review and taking into account environmental concerns.

“And we need to grasp the nettle on other big infrastructure decisions too. That’s why, following the report by the Chair of the Olympic Delivery Authority Sir John Armitt, we will establish an independent National Infrastructure Commission.

“That Commission will help us identify the infrastructure needs of every region of our economy over the next 25-40 years and ensure government comes up with plans to meet them.

“And with London’s population set to grow over that time, the Commission will clearly need to ensure that London’s infrastructure, including our transport system, is fit for purpose.

“Crossrail is a big step forward and plans for Crossrail 2 are already underway. But our Commission will also need to assess what more we may need to do to ensure our capital’s transport infrastructure can cope as London continues to grow‎ and prosper.”

ENDS

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Posted March 3rd, 2015 by Ed's team