Political Update – February 2024

The Pedicabs (London) Bill enters the House of Commons

On Wednesday 28 February, the Pedicabs (London) Bill entered the House of Commons for its second reading following a successful passage through the House of Lords. The full transcript is here.

HOLBA has worked tirelessly to support the creation of this Bill, liaising closely with key stakeholders such as Nickie Aiken MP, Westminster City Council and members. Ahead of the Second Reading in the House of Commons, HOLBA shared a briefing detailing our position on the Bill with Conservative, Labour, and Lib Dem MPs. We also met with the office of Shadow Minister for Local Transport, Simon Lightwood MP.

In the media, HOLBA has emerged as a thought leader on the pedicabs issue, gaining coverage in OnLondonEvening Standard and MyLondon. HOLBA was also mentioned by Conservative peer, Lord Borwick, in a recent op-ed for ConHome.

Once the Bill has been passed by Parliament, TfL will consult “whoever it considers appropriate” before making pedicab regulations. We have met with TfL to discuss how our members can best engage with the consultation – we will provide further updates on this in due course.

Political Activity  

  • The Government will unveil its Spring Budget on 6 March; HOLBA made a submission to HMT earlier this year. The Government are keen to cut taxes in this budget. However, recent OBR forecasts suggest the fiscal headroom is much smaller than previously anticipated. There are predictions that National Insurance will once again be the focus of the budget, with the reintroduction of tax-free shopping (also known as the ‘Tourist Tax’) currently appearing unlikely. We will share a summary with our membership and the Board following the Budget.
  • Local and London Mayoral Elections will take place on 2 May – the GLA will be enter the ‘purdah’ period from 19 March until post-election. No date has been confirmed for the General Election, although there are strong rumours that it will be in the autumn.
  • We attended the launched of Centre for London’s report on street clutter, which we co-sponsored. It sets out ways to tackle street clutter, including granting local authorities with greater powers and resources, and greater collaboration between BIDs and local authorities.
  • We responded to Westminster City Council’s Budget proposals, focussing on business rates, London’s night-time economy, CCTV, rough sleeping, and sustainability.
  • We are preparing a response to Westminster City Council’s Street Entertainment and Busking consultation and will be consulting our members on their thoughts, with a roundtable being held on 26 March.
  • We met with the New South Wales 24-hour Commissioner to discuss their and our approaches to the evening and night-time economy, sharing intelligence on our strategies.
  • We attended an event with the Prime Minister’s business engagement special advisor, who gave us an insight into the Government upcoming priorities and highlighted the importance of business engagement.
  • We joined a TfL working group on a trial of extending off peak fares to run all day on Fridays, in an attempt to increase footfall. It has been announced today that the trial period will begin on 8 March and run until the end of May. The announcement, including a quote from Ros Morgan, was covered by the Evening Standard on Friday here.
  • The Evening Standard covered comments from Ros last Friday calling for the Chancellor to include tax-free shopping in this week’s Budget here.

Recent Media Coverage

Looking Ahead 

  • Respond to the Spring Budget on 6 March, and continue lobbying for a Tourist Tax reversal and business rates reform if not included in the Budget.
  • Continue engagement with TfL on both pedicabs and the Friday fare freeze.
  • Hosting the next in our series of briefings by the Metropolitan Police Service for our members on 11 March.
  • Speaking at an Industry and Parliament Trust roundtable on the value of the creative sectors to enrich our cities and towns.
  • Meeting with the London as a Global City APPG to discuss how we can best work together.
  • Attending a roundtable with Sarah Olney MP, the Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Treasury and Business, to understand her party’s priorities as we approach a General Election.

If you have any questions or if you would like to discuss any of the above in further detail, please contact our Head of Public Affairs, Matt Panteli, on mattp@holba.london