TechnologyCity’s future depends on technology

City's future depends on technology

London needs to make IT and teleworking its highest priority if it wants to remain one of the world's leading capitals, says a report commissioned by Mayor Ken Livingstone.

The study – to be published later this month – will call for technology to be given the same prominence as transport in the Greater London Authority’s (GLA) 25-year land use strategy, according to AccountancyAge.com’s sister title Computing.

And it wants the GLA to begin with trials this year of broadband teleworking that could be crucial to reducing the pressure on the capital’s traffic and housing.

The 21st century city needs to be designed for both wheels and wires, says author Mark Hepworth, director of research consultancy the Local Futures Group (LFG).

‘We need to be sure broadband access and quality are of a sufficient standard to allow companies throughout the city to compete effectively in world markets.

‘It is absolutely fundamental to London as a world capital,’ said Hepworth.

The report recommends teleworking trials before the end of this year so policies can be co-ordinated with the Transport for London smartcard initiative due in 2003.

The city is particularly suited to working from home because 60 per cent of workers are employed in the knowledge economy, says Hepworth.

‘There ought to be a pilot with a group of major companies from the private and public sectors to look at the real costs and benefits for both employers and employees.

The GLA declined to comment on the LFG report before its publication but the ideas have already received support.

‘It is crucial that these things are considered because if you are teleworking you need quality telecoms and transport links so you are not at a disadvantage,’ said Teleworkers Association executive director Alan Denbigh.

Richard Baron, deputy head of the Institute of Directors Policy Unit said: ‘Telecoms and ICT are very important to London particularly as financial centre because if our systems weren’t top of the range businesses would just go to Frankfurt.’

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