London needs control of its own revenue

London’s taxes subsidize the whole UK, but London often gets left short.

People elsewhere in the UK seem to think we’re all rich here, but London has the highest rates of household poverty in the UK. And Londoners have been badly affected by austerity and cuts.

Since 2016, for example, the housing benefit cap for private tenants has been frozen. That applies to the whole UK. But private rents are much higher in London than elsewhere, so that nationwide freeze effectively discriminates against Londoners. 

Meanwhile, the Institute for Public Policy Research, in a much-publicized paper, complained that more money is spent on public transport in London than elsewhere, but that's misleading. They didn’t mention that much less is spent on road transport needs in London than anywhere else (London has a fast accelerating need for electric vehicle charging points, for example). And in any case, per journey, London in fact gets far less spent on its public transport than most other UK regions.

Truth is, London badly needs the power to spend its own money where it’s needed. We need to be able, for example, to fix our own housing benefits and finance our own transport system. And for that, what we need, at the very least, is a good deal more devolution, and control of our own revenues.