Our Plan for a Fairer Economy
Westminster is home to over 53,000 businesses and one-eighth of London’s jobs. Our economy is critical to the nation. Our heritage and culture, unmatched connectivity, and highly skilled workforce provide a place of opportunity. From Mayfair to Maida Vale, Paddington to Pimlico and Harrow Road to Harley Street, our neighbourhoods create a city like no other.
However, while we've enjoyed tremendous success over the last decade, that success has not been equally spread. There remain pockets of the city experiencing significant deprivation, exacerbated by COVID-19 and the cost of living crisis.
Our ambition is a strong and sustainable economy that delivers inclusive growth. Our plan for a Fairer Economy follows our Fairer Westminster strategy in putting a strong, inclusive and green economy at its core.
Our objectives are to create:
- Resilient Businesses and High Streets – where small businesses are supported to grow and communities thrive.
- Vibrant West End – providing a world class offer and quality experience to residents, businesses, workers and visitors.
- Employment Opportunities for All – so that residents have the right skills to take advantage of the city’s employment opportunities and can develop fulfilling careers.
Resilient Businesses and High Streets
The business environment has radically changed. If we are to realise our ambition, it is imperative that businesses are supported to adapt to survive, recover and grow. Some of our key achievements include:
As well as supporting 20,000 businesses through our Westminster Business Unit and establishing a Responsible Business Network that has delivered £1.2m in donations to community projects, we have also:
- launched our Sustainable Business Charter - a business-led climate action pledge for organisations
- created the Enterprise Spaces Programme for delivering accessible workspaces
- launched the Responsible Procurement Strategy to drive social value and ensure ethical sourcing through our supply chains
- led on the digital transformation of our high streets, with 864 premises connected to high speed broadband
Vibrant West End
The West End’s complex ecosystem of living, working and visiting means that there are lots of stakeholders with a vested, and sometimes conflicting, interest in the area. As a local authority, our role is to provide the right mix of services and policy approaches to balance the needs of these groups, and in doing so provide a canvas on which they can all thrive. Some of our key achievements include:
As well as transforming Strand Aldwych, one of central London’s most congested streets into a vibrant public space, and enlivening 12 vacant units and supporting 45 brands through our pop-ups and meanwhile activations, we have also:
- showcased the city’s rich cultural offer through West End LIVE, Inside Out and City of Sculpture, attracting more than 250,000 visitors to the West End
- safeguarded and protected the commercial identity of the West End with the use of the Article 4 Directive in the Central Activities Zone
- launched the Westminster Investment Service, attracting investment from businesses and supporting existing ones to thrive
- run the Night Stars and Night Hubs volunteer initiatives in Soho to help visitors stay safe while on nights out in the West End
Employment Opportunities For All
On the face of it, Westminster is a wealth of opportunity for job hunters. However, the city draws on high-skilled talent from across London, the southeast of England and beyond. This makes the local job market more competitive for lower-skilled and less-experienced residents. We want to support our residents and employers to successfully navigate these systems to find and offer fulfilling and sustainable careers. Some of our key achievements include:
We’ve not only supported 2,000 residents into work through our Westminster Employment Service and created 100 new job opportunities for 16-24 year olds in the Kickstart programme, we have also:
- launched a Corporate Work Strategy matching local students to opportunities within Westminster City Council
- supported 6,311 adult learners to achieve skills and qualifications, including 62% from Global Majority communities and 20% with learning disabilities
- worked with 1,000 13-16 year olds to broaden their career aspirations and improve their personal, economic and social wellbeing
- delivered careers information and advice to young people via schools and colleges in partnership with local business communities
Our immediate plans include:
- Further supporting our small and micro businesses, including Global Majority-owned businesses and under-represented business groups
- Supporting priority business growth sectors and local high street revitalisation
- Increasing social value through our Responsible Economy programme, encouraging businesses to play their part to improve the local community’s quality of life
- Helping businesses implement energy efficiency and carbon saving measures in the transition to net zero
- Addressing skills shortages in industries with higher vacancy rates, and improving the links with industries on provision of those skills
These are just a few of the ways we are immediately looking into creating a Fairer Economy. The plan above details many more actions we are taking and planning to implement.
Cllr Geoff Barraclough, Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Development, launched the plan at an event at Somerset House, welcoming guests and outlining our economic plans for the next three years.
What happens next
Our plan for a fairer economy represents a step change – it demonstrates a fresh approach to a complex set of challenges facing the borough today.
We are confident that our plan for delivering a fairer economy is achievable but we cannot do this alone. Our residents, communities, businesses and wider partners, such as educational institutions, are essential in helping us to realise our ambition for a fair and inclusive economy.
Our ambition for this plan is to start new conversations and open new avenues for collaboration. This is only the beginning of our journey towards creating a fairer economy in Westminster and we want to bring our communities and partners with us.
Every single one of us has a part to play in creating a Fairer Economy for Westminster. Here are some of the ways you can get involved and make your voice heard: