Wednesday, March 18, 2009

LDA Under New Management

Signs of the recession (see above) are all around us but there was better news this morning. LDA chairman - Harvey McGrath - and chief executive - Peter Rogers - appeared before the assembly to update us on changes at the body formerly known as Ken's piggy bank.


Interference by the mayor's advisers was a big problem in the old days, leading to damaging stories in the run up to last year's election. A new and more open regime has now been put into place.

The mayor may still issue instructions to the board of the LDA and in fact he has done so on two occasions. These take the form of an official direction which is recorded in the minutes and available for perusal, whereas the old approach involved figures at City Hall making informal contact and no official record was kept.


The old LDA funded some 800 projects around the capital and struggled to keep track of what they were all doing. The problem was evident last year when the assembly requested the files on several projects and was told that no such files existed. Following legal pressure, the LDA relented and sent over some relevant documents - jumbled up in over 40 crates!

The new settlement requires a focus on many fewer projects, each with a better chance of success and each properly monitored for results and value for money. The aim is to provide seed funding for projects which can then support themselves, so that in future years the money can be invested elsewhere. Basket case dependency is actively discouraged.

And the same approach applies to jobs. The agency seeks to create jobs for the long term rather than sending clients on six month training courses.


With unemployment worsening around the country, it is heartening to see London bucking the trend. Today's statistics showed only a 0.1% improvement in the capital but at least the figures are going the right way, unlike the rest of the UK. Testament to the mayor's economic measures and the unique nature of London's economy.

No comments: