The Westminster economy is one of the most successful in Europe and a Labour Council will ensure that this success continues and that more local residents and small businesses share in the fruits of this economic success.
It is vital that the Council plays a positive role in ensuring that Westminster’s retail, design, creative, fashion, tech, hospitality and SME sectors continue to thrive and provide long term and rewarding career opportunities for local residents. In addition, Westminster’s development industry needs the skills necessary to construct new homes and business premises through skilled construction workers, bricklayers, plumbers, electricians and plasterers.
Our key pledges are:
- Labour will continue to call on the Government to allow Westminster to retain a greater proportion of the £1.8 billion in business rates it currently pays to the Exchequer (currently it retains only 4%).Westminster residents must be able to benefit from new business rate growth if new development is going to benefit our City overall.
- We will introduce a business rates incentive scheme to encourage small businesses to adopt the London Living Wage.
- We will look at ways in which Council rents for small businesses can be kept at manageable levels.
- We will work with major private landlords to seek a more sustainable approach to rent setting to support local shops and restaurants.
- We will examine opportunities to support independent shops through small grant funding and loans.
- We will reform the way in which apprenticeships are provided by the Council, its contractors and major partners so that schemes benefit more local young people.
- We will work with local Colleges and training providers to expand opportunities for training in the skills needed locally
- All Council and contractor jobs will be advertised in local job centres and through supported employment providers in Westminster.
- We will introduce a community benefit approach to make it easier for local small businesses to work with the Council
- We will require developers to employ local people and provide apprenticeships as part of Section 106 agreements.
- We will call for a public inquiry into BT Openreach’s failure to provide superfast broadband in many areas of Westminster and ensure the council does all it can to facilitate access to it.
- We will work with the Greater London Mutual Bank and others to help our SME’s get access to finance.
- We will work with local partners to improve the training and skills of local people to take advantages of job opportunities across Westminster.
- We will push Council contractors further to provide local jobs and apprenticeship opportunities for Westminster residents.
Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Business and Public Realm spokesperson, said:
“We want to widen opportunities for local residents to get jobs and training in many of the leading business in Westminster. We will work with the New West End Company and other organisations to create new training and job opportunities.
With success comes intense pressure on small independent business as rents rise and costs increase. We want to retain the best of our small business sector and will work hard to create opportunities to enable them to stay in Westminster.”