Reflections on the launch of the Inclusive Growth Strategy

Reflections on the launch of the Inclusive Growth Strategy

The challenges of delivering inclusive growth and opportunity for boroughs to work together was the focus at the launch of the Inclusive Growth Strategy on Monday 18th November at the London Connectory. While central London has seen consistently strong economic growth, the benefits of this have not been accessible to all Londoners. The audience heard that more than 40% of inner Londoners don’t think that the capital is a fair city (GLA Survey of Londoners 2019). The Inclusive Growth Strategy aims to provide a route map for central London to address this and other challenges by delivering better growth.

Councillor Guy Nicholson from the London Borough of Hackney welcomed the audience and spoke about LB Hackney’s activities to deliver an inclusive economy that values Hackney’s diversity and promotes a fairer, greener and shared economy.

Claudia Penaranda, Principal City Planner at TfL, kicked off the panel presentations, outlining the challenges for inclusive growth in urban centres and the opportunities and benefits of sub-regional collaboration. The audience also heard from Junakie Begum and David Wilkins, officers in LB Tower Hamlets and LB Westminster on their work in the transport and digital sectors respectively. Priorities to enable modal shift to active travel was covered by Fiona Blackley, Head of Neighbourhoods & Networks at Sustrans.

The presentations provided a great opportunity to share experiences and identify areas of commonality. To name one example, the quick wins but also pitfalls for provision of active travel were picked up in discussion about the tools available to local authorities to facilitate changes in travel behaviour. While improved crossings are key to facilitating more walking trips, improved cycle parking (not just cycle lanes) are key to get more people cycling. Sustrans concluding statement that details matter in delivering inclusive active travel networks was a strong reminder.

David shared the achievements to improve digital connectivity within LB Westminster, catapulting the borough from one of the UK’s worst connected to one of the best in terms of broadband speeds. By rolling out full fibre networks, local businesses and council housing tenants now have access to better broadband. The need to engage local businesses and coordinate engagement with the private sector was highlighted as being key to driving change.

Claudia’s concluding remarks provided a succinct ending to the discussion: a multi-agency approach to address new homes and jobs alongside infrastructure challenges in specific areas is our best chance to achieve the complex goal of inclusive growth. Catherine McGuinness, Chair of Policy and Resources at the City of London Corporation, closed the event with reflections on central London’s shared challenges and how the Inclusive Growth Strategy and a joint-up, sub-regional approach can deliver change.

Personally, I am looking forward to building on the insights from the event in developing Central London Forward’s approach to inclusive growth. The next step for the partnership’s strategic approach will be to further refine our priorities for the coming years and continue to work across the partnership to deliver these joint commitments.

Central London Forward would like to thank the panellists and speakers for their contribution to the event. Their time and insights are greatly appreciated and we look forward to continuing the conversation in future. Pictures from the day are available on

Alison Noehrbass – 28.11.19