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Business leaders call for greater powers for London to boost transport and housing projects

London should be given greater executive powers in order to deliver long-term infrastructure projects and address the housing shortage, according to a new report from a business lobbying group.

The wide-ranging report by London First, commissioned by mayor of London Boris Johnson, has called for the capital to be allowed to take greater control of its tax revenue and capture the increases in property value derived from transport investment.

The group argues that devolution would both drive economic growth and job creation in London and create a more balanced economy across the UK.

The report, London 2036: An Agenda for Jobs and Growth, also sets out the case for a major increase in planning and building of new homes by providing improved incentives and co-ordinating resources across London’s boroughs.

London First director of strategy John Dickie said: “Some challenges facing London will take a long time to remedy – like preparing the populace for the highly-skilled jobs that will drive the city’s economy in the future.

“But infrastructure is different; yes, there are big issues, but they are all relatively solvable if we just step up investment and get started.

“We need to start serious development of Crossrail 2 now and to double our historic rate of house completion – all of which would be made much easier if London government had the necessary decision-making powers.

“London’s population will breach its 1939 peak of 8.6m any day now - a timely reminder that we can’t afford to stand still for one moment.”

KPMG senior London partner Kevin Smith added: “As London grows our existing infrastructure will continue to be placed under considerable strain ‎‎and need to adapt, particularly housing supply.

“The housing crisis in the capital is having a ‎significant impact on businesses, especially at the SME level ‎‎as employees struggle to afford to keep up with the runaway housing market.

“While the mayor has done a good job in areas such as improving the Underground, there is still much that remains to be done to ‎‎improve global and city connectivity to underpin our f‎uture competitiveness including rail, air, ‎bus and cycle networks.”

The report, which will be launched at a business leaders event on Wednesday, also warned that attitudes to immigration and the UK’s role in the EU could be a threat to London’s role as an economic centre.

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