BusinessLDN sets out plan to escape the low-growth trap ahead of the Autumn Statement
BusinessLDN is calling on the Chancellor to use his upcoming Autumn Statement to bring forward bold measures that will drive growth, create jobs and encourage private investment.
Representing over 170 leading businesses in London, the campaign group has outlined steps that would improve the country’s economic performance and the capital’s competitiveness as a global city both now as well as in the longer-term.
In addition to identifying areas where greater public and private investment are needed to shift the dial, BusinessLDN’s submission also highlights how regulatory and policy change – such as restoring VAT-free shopping for international visitors – could boost growth. It includes recommendations for better spending of existing budgets, such as greater flexibility around housing budgets.
John Dickie, Chief Executive of BusinessLDN, said:
“The economy is stuck in the slow lane so it’s vital that the Chancellor takes urgent action to boost growth both now and in the longer-term.
“With the public finances tight, the Chancellor should embrace measures such as restoring VAT-free shopping for international visitors that would increase spending across the country almost immediately. It would also generate significantly more in tax revenues than it costs.
“Giving London and other regional economies more autonomy over existing funding pots would help taxpayers get more bang for their buck. The Chancellor must also commit to long-term capital funding for Transport for London so that it can plan for the future with confidence and deliver investments that support its supply chain across the UK.”
Among the 21 measures in its submission, BusinessLDN calls on the Chancellor to:
Restore VAT-free shopping for international visitors. Data shows that 10% of UK spending from international visitors has already relocated to EU countries, which all offer this incentive, and have boosted their American visitor numbers. The additional spending from this measure in restaurants, hotels and other outlets would more than compensate for the loss of VAT and deliver a significant net increase in tax revenues, making it a win-win- for business and the economy.
Commit to long-term capital funding for Transport for London and deliver sustainable fares reform. Transport is a critical enabler for the capital’s labour market and economy. The Government must deliver clarity and certainty on long-term capital funding for TfL so that it can efficiently deliver the maintenance and upgrades that the network needs. Agreeing a multi-year funding deal would not only benefit London, it would also support TfL’s supply chain across the UK – which was worth £5.9 billion in GVA to the UK economy in the last year alone and supported more than 100,000 jobs.
Increase funding to address the availability, affordability and quality of childcare provision and provide a boost to the labour market. Recent BusinessLDN polling with the Central District Alliance business improvement district shows that 53% of parents and carers in London find the cost as unaffordable, and nearly half (49%) say it has pushed them into debt. The Government should cover 100% of childcare costs of those on universal credit and make the 30-hours of free childcare a week available for all 52 weeks of the year. It should bring forward the timeframe for increased funding to primary schools to provide wrap-around care to September 2025. We will be publishing a report shortly on how business can step up and do more to support working parents to build on government action.
Work with the private sector to maximise the benefits from HS2 and keep the door open for future expansion. The Government must urgently work with the private sector around the terms of the proposed new Development Corporation at Euston and to clarify what it expects from the private sector and what it will provide to enable the construction of the station and the associated development to take place at pace. Certainty over the long-term future of HS2 is an important part of any such plan for Euston and we call on the Government to include passive provision for future expansion if a future government decides to extend the route to the North West.