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THIRD MEETING OF THE JOINT LONDON ADVISORY PANEL

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The Joint London Advisory Panel has agreed a series of action points to take forward key issues facing the capital....
The Joint London Advisory Panel has agreed a series of action points to take forward key issues facing the capital.

The panel's third meeting was held on Monday at the House of Commons.

The following areas were discussed: tourism, education and training, refugees and asylum seekers, recycling household waste, the London Pride Partnership Manifesto, and the Millennium Festival.

In November 1995, environment secretary and minister for london John Gummer invited the London Pride Partnership to act as an Advisory Panel on issues affecting the capital. The first meeting of the Panel was held in February 1996 and it was agreed that notes of each meeting would be made public.

The role of the Joint London Advisory Panel is to advise ministers from the Cabinet Sub-Committee for London on strategic issues facing the capital. The London Pride Partnership comprises 11 organisations:

London First; the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry; CBI London; the Association of London Government; the London Planning Advisory Committee; the Corporation of London; Westminster City Council; the London Docklands Development Corporation; the London Training & Enterprise Councils; the Lord Bishop of London, representing the London Church leaders; and the London Voluntary Service Council.

JOINT LONDON ADVISORY PANEL NOTE OF THIRD MEETING ON 10 FEBRUARY 1997

Introduction

This is a public record of the third meeting of the Joint London Advisory Panel, which comprises Ministers from the Cabinet Sub- Committee for London and leaders of the 11 representative organisations which comprise the London Pride Partnership.

The Chairman of the meeting was John Gummer, Secretary of State for the Environment and Minister for London. Lord Sheppard and Councillor Toby Harris, joint Chairmen of the London Pride Partnership, led the London Pride Partners.

The Panel agreed:

-- an inbound tourist target in excess of the annual European growth rate should be set for London

-- that London should establish itself as the Millennium capital of the world: now that the Millennium Exhibition had been agreed, London should concentrate on establishing a world class Millennium Festival

-- the London Pride Partnership would do further work on disaggregating national and local components of lottery awards as part of establishing the case for more local lottery awards for London

-- that the Panel would have a presentation on the benefits of the partnership approach in community safety initiatives at its next meeting

-- that the award of£12m of Capital Challenge resources to the London Pride Waste Initiative had been crucial in taking the initiative forward. Boroughs and business were now committed to the initiative and further work now needed to be done to build on current capacity, encourage public participation and make full use of the benefits of the landfill levy and producer responsibility initiatives.

Discussions

Mr Gummer welcomed to the Panel: the Lord Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Richard Chartres, Michael Frye, Chairman of the London Region of the CBI and Judith Mayhew, newly appointed Chairman of the City of London Policy and Resources Committee. The meeting was also joined for the first time by the Secretary of State for National Heritage, Virginia Bottomley.

Tourism in London

Sir John Egan, Chairman of the London Tourist Board, gave a special presentation to the Panel on the tourism sector in London. He reported that: tourist revenues in London were growing at the world rate (8%) for the second year running; there is now a clearer brand identity for London; hotel occupancy rates were very high (82%) and there was demand for a further 4-5,000 beds a year.

Improvements were required in a number of areas. For example, a bolder and more imaginative approach to planning and regulation, a commonly agreed and readily comprehensible hotel classification system, more efforts to market other parts of the UK alongside London (84% of first time visitors choose London), and a rolling programme of world class events and attractions to maintain a steady stream of visitors in the years ahead.

The Panel agreed that the Department of National Heritages (DNH) funding for the Focus London campaign had been instrumental in attracting private sector funding and the need for Government contributions would continue though reduce over time. London should aim for a visitor growth target in excess of the European average if the UK as a whole was to meet it.

The quality of hotels remained important as did the need for a major international convention centre to encourage major conferences and exhibitions. London should also encourage tourism in areas away from central London.

There was also a need to ensure that London's long term unemployed enjoyed the economic benefits which would flow from the forecast growth in this important economic sector. Through the Training and Enterprise Councils, there was a need for schemes to encourage owner/hoteliers at the budget end of the market to improve the quality of their product. There was also scope to develop schemes for young people and the long-term unemployed in tourism related skills.

The Millennium Celebrations

The Panel welcomed the recent announcement by the Millennium Commission that agreement had now been reached on the national exhibition at Greenwich. The Partners were now addressing arrangements for a similar range of festival activities involving communities across London.

The Association of London Government had established a Millennium Festival Steering Group to coordinate London's contribution to the Festival, and the Churches and faith groups were making a complementary input. London First had identified a range of possible themes for the Festival and had appointed a Director to take these ideas forward.

The Panel agreed that now that the Millennium Exhibition was on track, it was time to start concentrating efforts on London's Millennium Festivities. Although on the face of it local London had not been as successful bidding for Lottery funds as it might, further work was needed to define the London case. There was a need for landmark projects outside the central area, but London had to be sensitive to the perceptions of those outside the Capital.

Progress since the last meeting

The Panel recorded excellent progress in a number of areas. London had successfully secured considerable funds from the Single Regeneration Budget (SRB) Challenge Fund Round 3, Capital Challenge and the Estates Renewal Challenge. The SRB had given more support to community-based and ethnic minority projects and this was welcomed by the Partnership.

The government's new documents - A Competitive Capital, published in November and London: Capital of Arts, Culture and Heritage, published in December - were well received and considered to be helpful. So was the Government Office for Londons (GOL) seminar for London leaders to follow up the report - Four World Cities: A Comparison of London, Paris, New York and Tokyo, published last year.

A consortium, including Westminster City Council, DNH, GOL, and with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, had awarded a contract to develop a master plan for the Whitehall area to a team led by Sir Norman Foster. This was progressing very well.

The Panel also agreed that it now had much improved ties with the City Promotion Panel, set up to promote the financial services sector.

It was also reported that the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry had agreed to share its work on modelling the London economy, and the Panel agreed that this important work should continue.

In relation to transport, the Partnership reported strong concerns about the level of funding available to London Transport, especially for the Underground and the East London Line works. There was also concern about the state of preparation for water transport services to the Greenwich Exhibition site. These would be raised with the Minister for Transport in London.

Education & Training Sub-Group

The Sub-Group was set up to advise on and promote business support for education and education business links, and to identify some education and training priorities which the London Pride Partners and Government should pursue. The Sub-Group has now met twice under the Chairmanship of James Paice.

The Sub-Group has identified six key areas where action could be focused. These are: literacy, business support for education, increasing the opportunities for work based development for 16-19 year olds, supporting a Careers Service Network and developing an All Age Guidance Network, capital investment in education infrastructure, and the recruitment and retention of teachers.

Making a Commitment to the Capital 1997-2002

The Partnership introduced their document, Making a Commitment to the Capital 1997-2002. They would be having discussions with the main political parties and hoped that the points identified in the document would be reflected in manifestos. They wanted the Parties to recognise that London contributes greatly to the nation's well-being and in return national government had a responsibility to London.

The Partnership continued to hope that London MPs would work more closely together for the benefit of London.

It was agreed that there was merit in the Panel giving further thought to the lessons of partnership working in the area of community safety. There were many excellent examples of partnership working across the Capital and the Panel indicated that a presentation on some of these would be helpful at a future meeting.

The London Pride Waste Action Programme

The London Pride Partnership reported that the successful Partnership/consortium bid for Capital Challenge funds, which was awarded£12m in December, should lead to a dramatic improvement in London's waste recycling performance in line with the government's target.

Boroughs were now developing detailed implementation plans and arrangements for administering financial performance. The partnership is establishing new project management structures to ensure the continuing effective implementation of the project over the next three years. It will also focus on the development of new businesses and jobs and the need to encourage full public participation in the task of household waste recycling.

The key message of the project was that real progress could not have been made without a proper partnership between boroughs, industry and government. The close working relationship between the sectors will be further developed, encouraged by the award of Capital Challenge funds. Additional funds will be sought for an environmental body supported by the new landfill tax.

Refugees and Asylum Seekers

The Panel considered the acute shortage of buildings in the Capital to provide accommodation for refugees and asylum seekers. Hostel accommodation and temporary bed and breakfast accommodation was hard for many boroughs to secure and in some cases it was necessary to find alternatives.

Urgent co-ordination was needed across departments to help the provision of accommodation for asylum seekers and refugees. This issue would be pursued in further discussions between the Government and Partnership members.

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