Monday 1 March 2021 8:36 pm

Chancellor urged to keep London economy competitive through tax measures in Budget

The Chancellor is being urged to keep London competitive by offering businesses a ”confidence booster” in this week’s budget.

London First, the business lobby group promoting the capital wants Budget measures intertwined with policies to encourage people back to the city.

Among suggested measures are: a range of tax reductions and the improvement of testing for international arrivals to keep London a global attraction.

Especially on aviation, director of policy at London First John Dickie Dickie is advocating for the Government to work with international partners ensure testing and proof of vaccination forms the basis of a common standard for travel that will give confidence to travellers.

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With regards to economic measures, London First is pushing for restoration of the ‘tax-free shopping’ retail export scheme to help attract tourism back, extend Sunday trading hours in the UK’s international centres and extend the business rates holiday.

The hope is such measures would bring people back to the capital, specifically tourists and would in turn stimulate transactions.

London’s economic impact has been grave with 250,000 job losses during 2020, according to the London School of Economics for City Hall.

This equated to 200,000 fewer employees on payroll in London during October 2020 than at the same time in 2019.

Dickie said the capital was hardest-hit regarding job losses during the pandemic.

“London was hit hard by the pandemic, and has lost more jobs than any other region, so we need to see significant investment in skills and reskilling, including a subsidised work experience and placement programme”, he said

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London’s Central Activity Zone (a business location, home to a third of jobs in the capital) represents just under 4.5per cent of the UK’s jobs, and generates just under eight per cent of the UK’s Gross Value Added.

Dickie added: “With footfall having plunged in the capital, once lockdown ends, we need to get people back into capital quickly and safely to support a swift recovery.”