London mayor Sadiq Khan is pushing the Treasury to announce fresh devolution of powers to London within weeks.
Speaking exclusively to City A.M., Khan said he had recently met with Philip Hammond, and was optimistic the chancellor would make an announcement in the Autumn Statement. Khan also expressed fears that any reform to migration might hit City employers.
Hammond will take to the despatch box for his first fiscal event as chancellor on November 23.
“I've been impressed by the willingness of the government to recognise that London is the powerhouse for our country,” Khan said.
“More so now than ever before the government needs to give Londoners more control over our city.”
Khan has been pressing for a raft of new powers for London, most recently demanding fresh tax devolution to match the abilities of city mayors in the US.
New York mayor Bill DeBlasio controls education, skills, healthcare and social service systems, as well as taxes on income, tobacco, alcohol and property, on top of equivalent powers in Khan's remit of housing, transport and policing.
“There's a coalition that we have formed with business leaders, businesses, the City of London Corporation, council leaders and London MPs of all parties and we all agree that London needs more control.
“The government understands that and I'm optimistic that there will be good news from the government in the Autumn Statement. I certainly hope so.”
And Khan added that his officials are drafting proposals to prevent any national reforms to migration harming City businesses.
“Whether it's insurers or banks or tech entrepreneurs, a key concern they have got is whether losing EU membership will mean they find it more difficult to get talent to London,” he said.
“The government recognises that.”
He added a London work permit is one possibility being evaluated at City Hall, although he admitted the finer details of how such a scheme would operate are still being finalised.
“There are business groups working with us on how we can make it work, and we are still working on the details, but the main thing is that the government recognises those concerns,” Khan said.
“We can't afford to give the impression that we are going to stop being open minded or outward looking.”