The government has told London Mayor Boris Johnson it would look ‘seriously as the issue of issue of bringing back empty property rate relief to provide much needed help to commercial property owners’.

It was responding to a list of measures proposed by Johnson to help London weather the economic downturn.

The Mayor was chairing the inaugural meeting of a group of senior leaders from politics, business and the public sector established by himself and Minister for London Tony McNulty to help guide London’s economy through the downturn and enable ministers to become engaged with the unique issues facing London;.

Other issues suggested by the Mayor for discussion included:

- Agreeing that Crossrail will start as soon as possible, and maintain support for tube upgrades.

- Opening up Whitehall, NHS and other public procurement to small businesses to access available contract opportunities and quickly identify suitable public sector opportunities.

- Cutting tax on foreign profits to ensure London remains a globally competitive place for multinationals to base their headquarters

- Avoiding punitive financial regulation, which would threaten London’s position as a global financial centre.

Johnson said: ‘I am determined to do everything in my power and will work with whoever it takes to help London cope with these difficult economic times.

'As today’s latest economic forecast is published highlighting the challenges facing the financial and construction sectors, it is a timely reminder that we need to act quickly and decisively.

‘Later this week I will outline how we will invest £5bn over the next three years to deliver 50,000 affordable homes which will boost the London housing market. However there are also many areas I cannot influence so I am pleased that today’s meeting gives me the opportunity to remind central government how it can help and how crucial it is that we work together and rise to the challenges facing the economy in which the capital plays such a major role.’