New York British consulate told under Tories ‘not to support businesses from London’, deputy mayor reveals

New York British consulate told under Tories ‘not to support businesses from London’, deputy mayor reveals

British government officials in New York were told to give preferential treatment to non-London businesses and areas outside the capital when facilitating investment links between the UK and US under the Conservative government, the Deputy Mayor for Business and Growth said today.

Speaking at the Hub Victoria launch of the London Property Alliance (LPA) Good Growth in Central London report, Howard Dawber described as “pretty galling” being told during a visit to New York, from which he has just returned, that the consulate trade team had been “told in the last few years not to support businesses from London” and that UK businesses based outside the capital looking to expand into the US should be prioritised for help.

Similarly, US firms looking to establish themselves in the UK were told they would receive consulate assistance “only if you’re looking for a non-London location,” Dawber said.

“I guess I shouldn’t have been shocked,” he admitted, because “we kind of new that was the case because of the government very much supported a ‘levelling up’ agenda,” yet it was still jarring to hear it said directly.

As new Prime Minister Keir Starmer met England’s regional Mayors, including Sadiq Khan, at Downing Street, Dawber expressed a hope that under the newly-elected national Labour administration central government would “stop doing that sort of thing” and “treating London like a pariah”, becoming instead “a little bit more collaborative”.

He added: “A more stable, reliable, dare I say it, a little bit boring, a little bit predictable, a little bit more dependable government is going to make a fantastic difference to London.”

Dawber highlighted the high level of agreement between London business groups, including the LPA, the capital’s local authorities, trade unions and others about “what some of the challenges are and what the opportunities for London might be” and revealed that a “direction of travel document” compiled in collaboration with cross-party group London Councils has already been supplied to the new government.

Work is also underway on a Growth Plan for London, which, Dawber said, “has a target of cresting 150,000 new good jobs for the capital and improving the living standards of Londoners”.

Emphasising the ambition of the capital’s growth plan, Dawber said there was an opportunity to establish London long-term as “the number one city on Planet Earth” and that he wanted it to be the leading location for sustainability, “not just sticking to our New Zero targets but we’ll make a feature of London being the place that does the transition where people will come to find the products and the services and the businesses to help them transition to Net Zero as well”.

The LPA report, which Dawber wrote the Foreword to, examines potential economic scenarios for the capital’s Central Activities Zone (CAZ) and the northern part of the Isle of Dogs, location of the Canary Wharf business and financial district.

Compiled by Arup, it calculates that the two areas together, termed the CAZ+, produce nearly half of Greater London’s economic output and provide 41 per cent of its jobs within just 2.2 per cent of its land area. Speaking at the launch, Matthew Dillon, Arup’s global economics skills leader, said the report pointed the way toward “a more prosperous, a fairer and a greener CAZ”

“A growing CAZ does mean a growing UK,” he stressed, and advanced the case for a “balanced growth” scenario, which could generate an additional 400,000 jobs £101 billion annual GVA and over 50,000 new homes by 2045, enabled by high quality business cluster development, a “flexible” approach to reconciling commercial and environmental objectives, pragmatic co-operation between boroughs, City Hall and Business Improvement Districts with support from central government. provides unique coverage of the capital’s politics, development and culture. Support it for just £5 a month or £50 a year and get things for your money too. Details HERE. Threads: DaveHillOnLondon. X/Twitter: On London and Dave Hill.

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