London needs a new story for the levelling up era

This article originally appeared in the Local Government Chronicle.

The capital should be at the heart of the debate about what it means for a local economy to be successful.

February’s levelling up white paper represented a long-overdue admission from the government that our economic model does not work for the majority of our country. Unfortunately, this important recognition does not seem to have translated into a prescription that reflects the scale of change that needs to take place. The government’s remedy, sadly, is for more of the same: ‘growing the pie, everywhere, for everyone’.
“On conventional measures of ‘economic success’, London could be understood as doing well”
As London has a pretty large slice of that pie, it could be assumed that, to deliver on levelling up, the government is seeking to mirror the regions to the capital’s success. On conventional measures of ‘economic success’, London could be understood as doing well.

  • Taking forward New Municipalism in London

    Following years of austerity, wealth extraction and an economy incapable of responding to social needs, the global New Municipalist movement is taking root here in the UK.  In a new publication, New Municipalism in London, the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) introduces this new concept and, with the London Boroughs of IslingtonHackney and Camden, shows how it is being taken forward.

    Like many world cities, London is both a beacon of extravagant wealth (London is the fifth wealthiest city in the world) and grinding poverty (27% of London’s citizens live in poverty).  Huge levels of speculative investment and gentrification are pricing ordinary Londoners, communities and businesses out of their own city.  Councils reeling from austerity and cuts to vital services are now contending with hollowed out local economies, denuded services and social pain.  New Municipalism is a deep intentional fightback against this status quo.  It rejects trickle down  inclusion after growth, and recognises that service transformation and ‘more for less’ system change is inadequate.


    New Municipalism in London

    10th April 2019
    This publication presents the stories of three London boroughs - Islington, Hackney and Camden – which are enacting a series of...