October political update

Friday 27 October: A look back at Party ConferencesEarlier this month, we attended the Conservative and Labour party conferences, hosting a breakfast roundtable at both on the importance of culture to the UK economy. Attendees included TfL, councillors, prospective MPs, Society of London Theatre, PwC, Walpole, University of Westminster, and London and Partners.

There was a discussion around the significance of language. It was emphasised that culture should be recognised as a “hard”, rather than “soft”, industry, given its substantial contribution to job creation and the economy. Attendees also discussed the need for an industrial strategy for the creative industries and what elements it should encompass. It was evident that culture is often undervalued as an economic driver.

At the Conservative party conference, we attended the London Reception, featuring Minister for London Paul Scully. We attended the Association of International Retail (AIR) roundtable on tax-free shopping, at which there was a discussion on the type of evidence required to convince the Prime Minister to reintroduce the scheme, the necessity of using less technical language for greater public and political impact, and the importance of regionalising the campaign beyond London. We also had meetings with Opportunity London, New West End Company, Society of London Theatre, councillors, and MPs.

We also attended the London Reception at the Labour party conference, which featured Mayor of London Sadiq Khan. As well as attending the AIR roundtable on tax-free shopping, we met with numerous councillors from Westminster City Council, economists, journalists and political advisors to members of the Shadow Cabinet. These discussions centred around the significance of BIDs and how Heart of London can support critical issues through our revised policy asks.

Political Activity

• Key stakeholders at party conferences – see above.
• In preparation for the autumn statement, we submitted stakeholder representation to the Treasury. This submission has been shared with appropriate teams in the Treasury, contributing to the development of policy and funding decisions.
• Following the Treasury submission, we have reached out to several shadow ministers, including Thangam Debbonaire, Chris Bryant, Darren Jones, and Tan Dhesi, inviting them for discussions related to their briefs.
• We are due to meet Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night-Time Industries Association (NTIA), which serves as the secretariat for the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the Night-Time Economy, following the launch of the NTIA’s manifesto for the night-time economy.
• We met with the Political Advisor to the Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to understand their priorities for the role, introduce them to the Heart of London, and to understand how to best feed into their aspect of Labour’s manifesto ahead of the next General Election.
• We have engaged with Westminster City Council and some of our members on the Council’s Cumulative Impact Assessment, which will influence the next review of the Statement of Licencing Policy, the Licencing Sub-Committee decisions, and will feed into Westminster After Dark. The deadline for submitting a response to the consultation is Sunday 5 November. If you would like to feed into our response, please let me know before Friday 3 November.

Recent Media Coverage

• NTIA Appoints 30 Night-Time Economy Ambassadors Across the UK to Accelerate Local Representation
• Westminster City Council calls for Transport Bill ahead of King’s Speech
• Rishi Sunak urged to press ahead with crackdown on West End pedicabs
• Westminster Council seeks views on developing an evening and night-time plan

Looking Ahead

Over the next few weeks, we will be preparing for the King’s Speech on Tuesday 7 November and the Autumn Statement on Wednesday 22 November.

The King’s Speech will outline all legislation that the Government will seek to complete before the General Election, and we are continuing to push the regulation of pedicabs to be included. The Autumn Statement will not be a full Budget so we’re unlikely to see much movement on taxes and duties, but it could include further measures to support people and businesses through the winter.

We could also see a Government reshuffle, which has been rumoured to take place either before the King’s Speech, or more likely, in January, where there are rumours that the Chancellor could be replaced.

Our future political engagement includes:

• Susan Hall AM, Conservative candidate for Mayor of London
• Chris Bryant MP, Shadow Minister responsible for Creative Industries and Digital
• Michael Kill, CEO of NTIA, secretariat for the Night-Time Economy APPG
• Thangam Debbonaire, Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

October political update