Ealing one of six West London Councils to announce proposals to drive UK economic recovery

Back west London to kickstart the wider UK economy and to ensure we build back better – that’s the message from West London council leaders, including Cllr Julian Bell, leader of Ealing Council, who meet this week to agree plans to respond to the economic damage caused by COVID-19.

With a pre-COVID-19 GVA of £74bn, the West London economy was bigger than Birmingham, Leeds and Glasgow combined. It is a vital economic growth engine for the UK contributing 4% of national GVA and containing major national and international assets.

But west London is the worst affected part of London in terms of economic impacts of COVID-19. It has seen an extra 71,000 people claiming benefits in May compared to the same time last year – a 200% increase. More than 280,000 residents have been furloughed – more than a quarter of all those in the capital.

A report by Oxford Economics commissioned by the west London boroughs, forecasts the economy could shrink by up to 14% and shed up to 50,000 jobs in 2020.

Chair of the West London Economic Prosperity Board and leader of Hammersmith & Fulham Council, Cllr Steven Cowan said: “Local councils know their communities and are ready to drive the sub-region’s future success. West London’s contribution to the UK economy will ensure UK recovery and wealth for the country, contributing to the levelling up agenda. Local councils need to be in the driving seat of public sector investment to ensure recovery is swift and that the structures already in place locally are put to best use.”

Cllr Julian Bell, Leader of Ealing Council and lead member for regeneration and development, said: “Like so many boroughs in this current climate, Ealing has been hit hard economically. So, this is the time to come together and show off our greatest strengths and assets to encourage investment in our people, economy and infrastructure to help get the borough and west London back to work.

“We have a brilliant record for partnership working and delivering on big ideas, so I urge you to come and talk to us about the opportunities we can offer you.”

Building on the Oxford Economics report the West London Economic Prosperity Board will agree priorities for an ambitious West London Build and Recover Plan, which is being developed with stakeholders across business and Further and Higher Education. The plan aims to drive a quicker, bigger and better recovery for West London and the UK.

The focus is on six themes: employment and skills, growth sectors, micro businesses, housing and infrastructure, town centres and Heathrow. It will include asks for flexibility around existing funding streams, investment in digital and transport infrastructure and the low carbon economy; and support for local communities affected by the COVID-19 impacts on the aviation industry.

Julia Buckingham, Vice-Chancellor and President of Brunel University London said: “It is fantastic that West London Councils are taking the initiative and working together to develop a strategy for recovery. The area has been hit hard and universities and skills delivery partners look forward to playing a pivotal role in recovery, particularly through research which supports economic growth and jobs and education designed to upskill and retrain West London’s workforce.”

Notes 

  • The West London Economic Prosperity Board is a joint committee comprising the London Boroughs of Barnet, Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow and Hounslow. The boroughs work jointly to promote economic prosperity in West London.
  • The Oxford Economics report -
  • Ealing Council will be presenting five opportunities at this year's Sitematch on 8 July and you can register here.