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Greater Mayoral power would put London in line with the rest of the country

A June event to which one of our reporters was scheduled to speak – a private dinner of London’s great and good – has been pushed back until September. The election has been given as the reason, but even the organisers acknowledged London is largely absent from the debate apparently gripping the country. The capital is out of step on everything from immigration to taxation to public services. It is certainly, thanks to a generation of 20- and 30-somethings who view the housing ladder as a now almost ethereal concept, in a very different place when it comes to planning.

Keir Starmer, should he take office, is at least a London MP, and speaks passionately about the capital. He bristles at the “north London lawyer” stereotype that Rishi Sunak so enjoys painting him with not because he’s ashamed of it but because he knows that Archway and Kentish Town – his adopted manor straight out of university – are as much a community as any other found up and down the rest of the UK, with its own heart and soul, its own character, its own successes and local pride. Speaking privately, Starmer is as far removed from Theresa May’s “citizens of nowhere” as one could imagine. He, it is fair to imagine, has more of an idea of the day to day lives of average Londoners than many of those who have indulged their inner Michael Caines just for a year or two (hi, Boris!)

Whether that translates into more support for the capital is an open question. There remains deep envy across the rest of the country at the capital’s perceived iron grip on everything from infrastructure spending to power, despite having a knackered transport system in a financial permacrisis and a Mayoralty which lacks the muscle of some Metro mayors up north. Devolving more tax, spending and decision making power to London would actually bring us more in line with the rest of the country, rather than away from it.

To not do so would be a missed opportunity, and hurt the rest of the UK. The capital remains the country’s biggest engine of growth. Putting some more fuel – electric charge or diesel, we’re agnostic – in the motor can only be a good thing.