MIPIM UK: Don’t punish London for our success, says Boris
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, opened MIPIM UK this morning calling for "more convergence between London and the rest", as ministers met to discuss greater spending powers for big cities.
With a backdrop of protestors outside the Olympia conference centre demanding a greater emphasis on social housing and resistance to foreign investment in the UK, the Mayor acknowledged that, for many, property had become an emotive issue.
"There is a deep and understandable sense of social injustice when it comes to housing", said Johnson. "Home ownership has become above people's reach. However, bashing London and investing elsewhere is a non-solution."
He went on: "We need to achieve more convergence between London and the rest. The answer is not to punish London for its success, but to give our great Northern cities greater fiscal powers, and we will do that.
"We need to connect London with the rest of the country, to see the 'London effect' spread and ripple out."
Johnson was joined on stage by Lord Heseltine to witness the signing of the London local growth deal, as part of the Government's plan to deliver £12bn of investment in local economies.
On signing, Johnson said: "The devolution process is underway in London, and so it can happen anywhere."
Heseltine said that following the Scottish referendum, a greater spotlight had been shone on the devolution debate. He continued: "There is a major surge in discussion on the devolution of powers. A committee chaired by William Hague is looking at the impact of this, and Greg Clark, minister for cities, is in a meeting at this very moment to discuss the process."
Clark is due to deliver the keynote address in MIPIM UK on Wednesday morning, where he is expected to outline how devolution will benefit the property sector in the regions.