London's Growth Sector Policies
The nature of London's economy has witnessed a constant change over the years. While the manufacturing sector held dominance in the pre World war days, the financial and business service sectors are the leading industries now. E-businesses and related sectors seem poised to pose the maximum growth in the coming years.
The London Plan that guides the future development of the city recognises the need for formulating policies to drive growth. The plan lays down specific strategies, policies and action plans to ensure sustained economic growth within the city of London. Such policies focus on promoting innovation and creativity in the key thrust areas of the future such as e-business activities, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructure, the tourism sector and environmental industries.Supporting innovation and Creativity
One key aspect of the economic initiatives in the London plan is supporting innovation. The plan envisions a constant review of new and emerging sectors of strategic importance to the economy and promoting knowledge transfer and other methods within and among such sectors.
Specific initiatives towards this direction include:
- Support to existing facilities such as medical research and encouraging establishment of new research and development facilities
- Establishing affordable incubator units and other business premises
- Promoting creative industries by identifying and supporting the development of clusters of creative industries
Supporting e-businesses and Promoting Information Communication infrastructure
E-business ranks amongst the fastest growing business sector in London. The London Plan recognises this fact and develops an e-government agenda for London.
Specific initiatives to support e-businesses and promote Information Communication infrastructure include:
- Ensuring that all sections of the society have access to e-resources by identifying groups and areas deprived of access to competitive broadband and drawing up mechanisms to redress the underlying issues
- Revising plan specifications to make sure that all new residential and commercial developments incorporate ducts, provisions for cables and other appropriate e-infrastructure provisions.
- Taking steps to minimise the disruptions caused when undertaking e-infrastructure works such as ducting and cabling works
- Providing e-education to equip Londoners with the relevant e-skills and competencies
- Providing e-support for small and medium businesses
The London plan recognises tourism as a key sector that will drive the economy forward. Specific activities in this direction include:
- Creating new infrastructure projects supported by projects that deliver top notch services such as seamless information management and customer service
- Creating integrated and sustainable tourism projects by identifying the potential, assessing capacity and encouraging the development of relevant projects for each area
- Improving public transport access to major tourist centres and areas with potential
The London plan focuses on environmental industries as another key growth area for the future and support the establishment of green industries and green practises in business. A range of support services are proposed provide financial backing, establishing training resources, launching schemes to assist the marketing initiatives and awareness of environmental products, formulating effective land use policies and supporting developmental clusters.Some specific initiatives include:
- Managing about 85 percent of London's waste within the metropolitan area itself by adopting green and sustainable practises such as re-cycling and reprocessing
- Supporting the use of renewable fuels to mitigate the effects of climate change
- Identifying land with river and rail access for setting up appropriate environmental industries
- Changing building plan and other policies to make mandatory green and sustainable design and construction practises, and thereby increase demand for environmental goods and services.
- Initiatives to encourage demand for recycled products
The development strategy adopted for London is to create conditions for investments but ensuring that residents benefit from such development. The thrust of the development policy is to attract projects that create employment. Priorities towards this end include developing micro and social enterprise, supporting town centre businesses, developing creative industries and more.Housing and Planning
The growth sector policies also focus on the radical reform of the planning system especially in the housing sector. Specific initiatives include processing planning applications including appeals within a twelve-month timeframe and fast track processing for major infrastructure projects.
Economic growth does not happen in isolation. The main focus of the London plan is on inclusive and sustainable development to ensure that the fruits of development reach all Londoners. The plan aims to achieve this through a two-pronged approach of initiating proposals that equip Londoners with relevant and in-demand skill sets and ensuring the availability of adequate opportunities to put such skills to use.