Underfunded London needs infrastructure now, says the Mayor

Immediate investment in the capital’s infrastructure could boost the UK economy by more than £33bn per year and alleviate the growing housing crisis.

A report commissioned by London’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan, from Swiss-based analysts Greenwood Strategic Advisors, shows investment in projects in the capital could add 400,000 new jobs and a “similar number” of new homes.

This gives more weight in terms of sheer numbers to an increasingly troubling scenario known to everyone in the infrastructure industry.

The report, entitled ‘Mind The Gap’, examines a number of infrastructure schemes in London, including: Crossrail 2, the extension of the Elizabeth Line to Ebbsfleet in Kent, the extension of the Croydon tram network and the extension of the Bakerloo line.

Apart from these the report also analyses the impact of further potential investments: A major brownfield redevelopment of the Royal Docks, high-speed fibre-based digital access to every building in Greater London and accelerated housing development.

And aside from the wider benefits to the UK economy, this would increase London’s population by 640,000 by 2050, enable 913,000 square metres of business space and facilitate .

EIX chairman, Professor Ian Reeves, says: “My long-held belief is that London is losing investment that would otherwise come here – or stay – because of the ever-worsening transportation issues. The net cost of that investment is less than the gross cost. What is the cost of not investing?”

Khan said: “As a country, we need to move from a system of underinvestment, low growth, reduced tax take and constrained public funding toward a new philosophy of sensible investment in high-growth schemes that deliver economic prosperity, more homes and higher tax revenues.

Craig Stephens, deputy chief executive of Greenwood, said “public infrastructure investments are currently stuck in a vicious cycle. Funding constraints delay or prevent such investments and the public benefits and tax revenues they bring. This perpetuates the funding constraints that are limiting investment.

It also proves that increasing infrastructure investment in the short term will reap enormous benefits in the long term.”

Jasmine Whitbread, chief executive of London First, a business campaigning group promoting London, said “part of the solution would be by calling on the resources available in the capital. Money is tight for the chancellor but London can help bridge the gap, as we’ll do for Crossrail 2 by matching central government investment pound for pound. The problem isn’t that government has over-invested in London, it’s underinvested across the UK.”

The full report is available here: http://www.greenwood-ag.com/files/MindTheGap-FullReport.pdf