The South London Partnership Boroughs of Croydon, Kingston upon Thames, Merton, Richmond upon Thames and Sutton, with 1.2 million residents, had an economy worth £32 billion in 2019, with 440,000 jobs.
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on this sub-region of the UK’s capital, with:
- a 12% economic contraction in 2020
- 32,000 jobs lost
- significant rises in unemployment, forecast to peak at 6.4% – a third of whom will be 16-24 year olds, 19 per cent over 50 and 13.2 per cent ethnic minorities
- significant rises in benefits claimants overall (over 15% of working age adults in May 2021) and a marked exacerbation of existing problems of in-work poverty (37.9% of our peak Universal Credit claimants are expected to be in employment)
But we have many assets to build on and are committed to doing all we can individually, together and working with anchor institutions, other partners, the Mayor of London and Government, to ensure that South London has a strong economic recovery that also tackles some longer-standing challenges, addresses inequalities, supports wider actions to address the climate emergency, and increases our contribution to London’s overall economic future and vitality.
The South London Partnership has therefore refreshed its economic priorities to focus on:
- Helping residents into good work
- Supporting innovation
- Improving infrastructure and connectivity
- Addressing the climate emergency
- Revitalising high streets and economic areas
These are unpacked more fully in the context of evidence about our pre-Covid economy and the impact of Covid-19 in our new SLP Economic Recovery Action Plan, which also sets out what we are already doing to pursue these priorities.