A message from George Osborne and Boris Johnson: Our six-point plan to make London the world’s greatest city


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London)

George Osborne (Chancellor of the Exchequer)
Both of us grew up in the capital and we’re proud of this brilliant, dynamic, diverse city. Today we jointly set out our Long Term Economic Plan for London — a six-point plan for more jobs and prosperity.

The first point of our plan is to secure London’s strong economic future by setting an ambition to outpace the growth of New York, adding £6.4 billion to the London economy by 2030. This means the equivalent of £600 extra per person.

Point two is jobs. In London over the past five years we’ve seen half a million more people in work, the fastest rate of job creation of anywhere in the country. Today we set an ambition to match that rate over the next five years too, so we have more than 500,000 extra jobs in London by 2020.

Our plan doesn’t just set ambitions  but a real plan for delivering them.

London is now home to more people than ever — a record 8.6 million and rising. We have developed plans to cope with the challenges and opportunities thrown up by such a successful city.

So the third point of our plan is to solve London’s acute housing problem, the city’s number-one challenge.

As Chancellor and Mayor, we are not prepared to stand by and allow those who have been fortunate enough to own their own homes, simply to pull up the property ladder behind them.

We need more houses. So we’ve launched Help to Buy and First Steps, funded the regeneration of run-down estates and invested in affordable housing. The number of homes being started in London has gone up 45 per cent since 2008/9. But we need more.

Last year we set out a plan for 20 new Housing Zones across the capital — good-quality housing built on brownfield sites, funded by government and mayoral investment.

Today we give the green light to the first nine zones, regenerating Abbey Wood, Barking, Clapham Junction, Harrow, Hounslow, New Bermondsey, Southall, Thamesmead and Tottenham. These alone will support the construction of nearly 30,000 new homes, and another 11 zones are still to come. And we’re backing plans for a new Growth Zone in Croydon, which could deliver 8,500 homes and 23,500 jobs.

There is still plenty of brownfield land for homes. To make that happen, today we create the new London Land Commission. Our target is to regenerate all known brownfield sites, with the Land Commission bringing forward opportunities for redevelopment and making sure government bodies release land they don’t need. In total all this will pave the way for some 400,000 new homes.

As well as housing, we need to keep our growing city moving. As the fourth point of our plan, we are today committing to provide London with £10 billion for new transport improvements, which alongside the investment in Crossrail represents the largest investment in London transport infrastructure in a generation. That means new Tube improvements, better roads, more buses and cycle lanes, while we’ve frozen fares in real terms.

By the end of the next Parliament we can further extend the 24-hour core night Tube lines that begin on September 12. We can then look to extend to the Metropolitan, Hammersmith and City, District and Circle lines. The London Overground will start 24-hour operations from 2017. And as part of wider Government investment in data networks, we will extend wi-fi to all below-ground sections of the Tube by the end of the next Parliament.

To make buses better, the Mayor is increasing his order of new Routemasters from 600 to 800 this year and committing to 800 new buses a year from next year onwards.

Today we’re also starting development of the next major round of infrastructure investments: Crossrail 2, the Bakerloo Line extension or a new tram line. Today we commit to developing the economic case for these major projects so we can take funding decisions on them later in the year.

The fifth part of our plan is to make London a centre of the world’s creative and commercial life, with new investment in scientific research, cultural activity and technology. That includes proposals for a new concert hall for London. This week we got Sir Simon Rattle’s support in helping develop it.

It means supporting tech firms and backing plans announced today by Virgin Media which will enable a million extra Londoners to get ultrafast broadband — including in outer boroughs.

We’ve already invested in making London a world science centre. We’re building the Francis Crick Institute for biomedical research, and the “knowledge quarter” that is growing around it at St Pancras will soon see Google move in. We are creating at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park a world-class centre of learning and culture, Olympicopolis, with UCL, the V&A museum and Sadler’s Wells all opening new facilities.

The final part of our Long Term Economic Plan for London is to give more power to Londoners to control their city’s future, with new powers for the Mayor to support economic growth and skills as well as new planning powers.

New homes shouldn’t be held up for years by central government rules: what gets built in London should be for Londoners to decide. Significant new powers over planning will be devolved to the Mayor, so that we can get more houses built. And the Mayor plays a key role in equipping young Londoners for jobs, creating more 170,000 apprentices: now it is time he decides how we invest in skills and training too.

Our plan is about securing London’s place as the greatest city on Earth. It’s a plan to build on the success of the past five years, to create more jobs and more housing, to support investment in transport, science and culture, and give greater power over London’s future to Londoners. It’s a plan that we have worked on together — and that with you, we will deliver.