An important, serious, speech today from the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson about the contribution the captal can make to economic growth.
The speech coincides with publication of ‘2020 Vision – The Greatest City on Earth; Ambitions for London.’
Boris says London’s population will hit ten million by 2030. London also needs 400,000 new homes in the next ten years alone.
Improve transport links are vital to all this says the Mayor – calling for central government spending on Crossrail Two, along with new tube extensions and river crossings.
“Post-Olympic London has an amazing story to tell of a city that is leading the UK out of recession as the best place to work, live, play, study, invest and do business, and my goal is to lengthen London’s lead as the greatest city on earth. In the summer of 2012 this city put on a triumphant performance, showing us exactly what we can do if we focus and plan, and agree on the challenges facing our city, and today is my personal view of how we can work together to meet those challenges.
"To succeed we must recognise the test of our mettle that lies ahead, not least a million more people in the next decade and a vast shortage of homes in an uncompromising global economy. This shows us why the government must invest in London’s future for the good of the whole of the UK and exactly why we must continue to attract international investment. I want this vision to be one which sparks the imagination of every Londoner as well as business leaders and government officials. This is everyone’s city and all of our futures.”
Better schools, improved pubic health and more apprenticeships are all important themes. Perhaps housing is the greatest challenge. It is not just a matter of hitting some Harold Macmillan-style target for the number of "units" built ("high rise rabbit hutches" as Boris calls them) but providing homes that people want to live in:
The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, where we are creating a new urban district where there will be thousands of new family homes modelled explicitly on the Georgian terraces that are perhaps the most popular and sought-after homes in the city."
What impact does all this have on Boris Johnson's prospects of becoming Prime Minister? It is about proving himself to be in command of the detail. That he is a serious about policy, not just an engaging front man to undertake photo opportunities. He wrote the 82 page document himself.
Londoners have already delivered their verdict on Boris in electing and re-electing him Mayor. Today he confirmed that he will not stand for a third term. Increasingly it will be the national verdict on his record in London that counts.