The Mayor of London election campaign is in full swing, with radio and television coverage of debates between the incumbent Boris Johnson and his challenger Ken Livingstone. For those unfamiliar with Mayor of London post, it was created in 2000 after the London devolution referendum. The reason for its high profile nature of the post is that London is the bread winner of the UK. It is densely populated and filled with well paid professionals who pay a considerable contribution to the treasuries purse. Therefore with the majority of politicians taking the popular stance of banker bashing, Boris Johnson is attempting to step up and make London competitive with its counterparts. He has campaigned vigorously for a drop in the headline 50p top rate of income tax, which in George Osborne’s budget was achieved.
Boris Johnson is somewhat of a maveric at times, however I agree with his campaign to enable London to keep a larger proportion of the tax that it creates, rather than subsidising other parts of the UK. As Allister Heath rightly pointed out that by London continuing to subsidise other parts of the country it has become dependent on it. As the recent Tory government has set to cut back on spending cutting public sector roles, the areas hardest hit were in the north that relied heavily on these public sector jobs.
Each day I walk across London Bridge into the City of London, I look around and see thousands of professionals heading to work and hear languages from every corner of the globe. The amount of people who rely on the City’s professionals is substantial, ranging from bars and clubs to cleaners and taxi drivers. The public criticism of bankers bonuses is another topic, though the argument is being relayed around the world. London needs to be open for business, we are about to host the Olympic games and it is the perfect opportunity to show the growth and infrastructure London has to offer. It is a multi cultural city and should continue to be the centre of the financial world in the west.
The UK is uncompetitive in industry, yet every major company has an office or headquarters in London. I think by some this is taken for granted and I hope that in 15 years time the British people don’t have to realise in hindsight that through tax and political policy, London lost its poll position as a global leader in financial services.