London calls on chancellor to up national funding for local jobs

London councils have written to the chancellor calling for an increase to “overall national funding” for local jobs growth ahead of today’s Budget speech.

Spearheaded by the cross-party group London Councils and the Mayor of London, and signed by leading representatives from London’s business, public and voluntary sectors, the letter emphasises the “urgent” need for the government to clarify its funding plans.

It highlights to Chancellor Rishi Sunak the “overdue matter” of replacing European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), which are scheduled to end following Brexit. The government has previously promised a UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) to replace both European and domestic funds for economic growth, but no details have yet been released.

The current £1.35bn London ESIF programmes support 444,000 Londoners and 8,000 businesses. London’s £440m Local Growth Fund programmes are estimated to have created or safeguarded over 10,000 jobs and helped over 200,000 people learn new skills.

While signatories welcome the proposed UKSPF as an opportunity to “create a less bureaucratic, fully devolved and flexible single pot of long-term funding”, they warn that “replacement funding is needed now” to enable investment planning for the coming years.

Emphasising how this funding is crucial for meeting local economic and social challenges, and moving to a low-carbon economy, the signatories push for London to receive “at least as much funding” as via the ESIF and domestic Local Growth Fund programmes. It also insists any future allocations must be based on a “fair measure of need”.

The letter’s signatories also claim government’s national targets for reducing poverty “will only work if London is part of the focus”.

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