Making a list. Checking it twice.

Jo Valentine, chief executive, London First

The General Election presents a key opportunity to make the infrastructure voice heard, says Baroness Jo Valentine, chief executive, London First.

If only political decision-making took inspiration from Christmas. The festive period is predictable, it comes on time every year, and it follows a well-worn pattern of asking and receiving. 

"To stretch the Christmas metaphor one last time – London has not been naughty, it’s been nice. It continues to drive the UK economy, giving the country a highly visible place on the world stage."

But if you applied a Christmas metaphor to political decision-making in the field of infrastructure it would be a heart-breaking tale, too often punctuated by wishes ignored, promises broken, gifts given without the batteries, and even presents handed over then snatched back.

As the General Election approaches, London First is making a final drive to change this narrative by framing our Infrastructure Summit 2015 around the theme ‘A Manifesto for London’.

This will be a key opportunity before the election to get your voice heard; a key chance to debate and tell our potential leaders what it is that London infrastructure needs.

The event will bring together key business leaders, politicians, and senior representatives from the property, investment, construction, transport and public sectors.

Isabel Dedring, Deputy Mayor for Transport opens proceedings with the launch of the Mayor’s final 2050 Infrastructure Plan for London.

A Manifesto for London.

Wednesday 25th March 2025

High profile speakers at the London Infrastructure Summit include:   

Lord Andrew Adonis, Shadow Infrastructure Minister 
Steve Allen, Managing Director - Finance, Transport for London
Isabel Dedring, Deputy Mayor for Transport, Greater London Authority 
Simon Kirby, Chief Executive, HS2
Andy Mitchell, Chief Executive, Thames Tideway Tunnel
Terry Morgan CBE, Chairman, Crossrail
Tony Travers, Director of LSE London, London School of Economics

A manifesto for London - booking details are found here

We will go on to debate the report, address the fiscal challenges facing the next government, and analyse some of the opportunities around key London infrastructure sectors, including housing, transport, digital and power.

The event culminates with election hustings, giving politicians from each party the chance to tell you just what is on their respective lists. 

As for our list? Well, early next year London’s population is expected to become the biggest it has ever been, surpassing the 8.6m peak of 1939.

We need to invest in providing the housing, transport, and wider infrastructure to support this growth,that in turn benefits the rest of the UK.

Amongst other things, we need to build an additional runway in the South East, maintain momentum on the Tube upgrades – and look ahead to Crossrail 2, plus tackle the city’s chronic housing shortage and continue to renew and enhance London’s utility and digital infrastructure.

To carry this off we need a new level of certainty that London’s leaders don’t have at the moment because they control remarkably little of London’s finances.

That’s why the next government should implement the recommendation of the London Finance Commission to devolve the revenue from a suite of property taxes to London (and, where appropriate, to other English cities) replacing existing grants pound for pound.

The list goes on but - to stretch the Christmas metaphor one last time – London has not been naughty, it’s been nice. It continues to drive the UK economy, giving the country a highly visible place on the world stage.

Whoever takes on the role of Santa Claus after the May election needs to recognise this so we can stay there.