This seminar assessed the practicalities of delivering devolution to London, and its potential for driving economic growth and competitiveness.
The discussion followed the Memorandum of Understanding on further devolution to London, which included proposals to devolve powers and responsibilities in the areas of business rate retention, infrastructure delivery and skills services. It also followed the London Finance Commission’s Devolution: a capital idea report, which recommended devolving and introducing new taxes, duties and levies to London - including greater control over property taxes, the apprenticeship levy, air passenger duty and vehicle excise duty - in order to boost public services, competitiveness, skills, employment and infrastructure.
Sessions focused on how devolution proposals would work in practice for the Capital, with perspectives on the challenges that reform might pose to the relationship between powers held at mayoral, GLA and borough level, as well as how increased tax controls and incentives for London can fit into a national framework. Delegates also had the opportunity to consider how fiscal and public service devolution can be used to incentivise London’s future economic growth and development - particularly in terms of the funding and delivery of local infrastructure, ensuring that the city remains attractive to businesses and the labour market, and addressing uncertainty presented by the UK’s departure from the European Union.
The conference brought together key policymakers with a range of professionals, including colleges and training providers, universities, employers and trade associations, transport operators, construction companies, developers, investors and banks, businesses and their advisors, local authorities, representatives of citizen and community groups, social and academic commentators, charities and campaigning organisations, along with reporters from the national and trade press and other interested parties.