Jennette Arnold
London assembly member for North East London — fighting your corner at City Hall
Questioning the Mayor on Tech City

Questioning the Mayor on Tech City

At Mayor’s Question Time last week I asked the Mayor if he accepted responsibility for the perfect storm now brewing over Tech City.

The East London Tech Cluster is facing a perfect storm of unaffordable workspace and poor quality broadband which threatens to derail one of London’s best known economic success stories.The Mayor needs to step up to the challenge in his final year to ensure that this unique community has a long term future. Much more needs to be done to link new employment opportunities with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. The Mayor should support the creation of specialist “digital careers advisors” as highlighted in the recent Centre for London Report The reason the cluster has become so famous is because it is an organic community. But high rents and the lack of office space threaten to tear the community apart.

When a small firm needs to upscale to a bigger office there is nowhere for them to go. I want businesses that were born in Shoreditch to grow old in Shoreditch and benefit from the creative minds and energy of that area. Not be forced to move to some drab industrial estate.

In order for the community to thrive in the future, it must build closer ties with the young people from disadvantaged backgrounds who live nearby. It is their dynamism and energy that will really make this work. The recent report from the Centre for London advocated the creation of “Specialist digital careers advisors”. Unlike other advisors they would be based in Tech City and able to keep abreast of the forever changing range of jobs that are becoming available.

The technology is changing so fast, careers advisors must be based on the ground with businesses to connect young people to the jobs available.

The creative cluster has taken many years to organically evolve into what it is today. But like all economic clusters, and one only has to think of the Docks, they are not immortal.