COMMITMENT: MP Sajid Javid vows to support all of London's residents in his role as Communities Secretary
COMMUNITIES SECRETARY Sajid Javid announced a government cash boost of £141 million for London to help create jobs, support businesses and encourage growth.
Javid announced the news during a visit to Hotel Elephant in south London last week.
A number of local initiatives in the capital that support its diverse communities are set to benefit over the next few years include funding to support London’s high streets and places of work, proposals to unlock housing sites for small builders and community-led housing groups and an air quality improvement project.
This latest award of local growth funding is on top of £294 million of growth deals funding already awarded to the London Local Enterprise Partnership.
Recent statistics show that just 4 per cent of businesses in the capital are owned by people from a black and minority ethnic (BAME) background. There are a number of complex reasons for this but one of the biggest hurdles is access to funding.
Talking to The Voice about the lack of diversity in London’s business landscape Javid said:
“I speak not just as someone who’s in this role, but I used to be Business Secretary.
"Ultimately, you don’t want any business to just rely on government funding as their main source because that’s just not going to be sustainable. What you want to do is to make sure that the banking system, the venture capitalists and others are looking at all types of businesses. London is good at that because we have a big finance centre but more can be done.”
LONDON LIFE: MP Sajid Javid leaving Downing Street after a cabinet meeting
“With the funding we’re announcing today, the local growth fund, the absolute criteria for us is that we support businesses of all types with people of all backgrounds, but most of all, we want businesses with successful business plans.
"What I always encourage young entrepreneurs in thinking about is, invest a lot of time into the plan and get a lot of advice. One of the ways to start, which government can help with, is the small business loans that we have through the business department. Many of those have gone to help people from ethnic minority backgrounds.”
Javid, who hails from a working-class Pakistani family, enjoyed a lucrative career at Deutsche Bank before leaving it to pursue a career in politics.
“I’d always been interested in politics from a very young age, what politicians do and how it impacts the country. I went for it, thinking if you don’t try, you’ll never know. The thing that motivates me the most is that you get solid things done that help real people. It’s not easy and as a politician, you have to be ready to take lots of stick. When you do something good, it’s rewarding.”
Money from the new local growth funding investment could see 8,000 jobs created or safeguarded and attract £352.4 million extra investment over the next 5 years as well as creating thousands of new homes in the capital.
The MP also outlined his view on how the London housing crisis could be tackled:
“First of all, we want more housing throughout the country but especially in London. We need more homes for either renting or buying. There’s lots of things that can be done to support that; one of them is supporting the smaller companies that might be developers or architects involved in that, try to help them grow.
"Unlocking (housing sites) is about making sure that they have the right infrastructure, right road networks, utilities, to ensure they create an environment that people want to live in.”
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