My goal is a vibrant, thriving City that contributes as fully as possible to the national economyby Catherine McGuinness / September 22, 2017 / Leave a comment
As Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee at the City of London Corporation, my goal is a vibrant, thriving City contributing to the prosperity and well-being of the capital and, crucially, the country.
With the backdrop of Brexit, the UK is at a crossroads, to use a familiar metaphor. Decisions made now will determine how well we do as a nation in coming decades.
In my role at the City Corporation, I believe we must focus on three issues: commerce, culture and ensuring our city remains an outstanding place to live, work and visit.
On commerce we must influence and inform Brexit negotiations to secure the best-possible outcome for financial and professional services. I don’t wish to offer a list of soporific figures, but it is worth noting that the UK’s financial and services industry contributed £71.4bn in tax last year—11.5 per cent of the UK’s GDP. And the industry matters in people’s daily lives, whether they are taking out insurance, saving for a deposit on home, or managing their pension. With negotiations beginning to take shape, our aim is to ensure the sector remains strong enough to continue making a significant contribution.
Brexit undoubtedly represents an enormous potential change to the UK’s world-leading financial services sector. We have to get it right, for all the UK—because two-thirds of the UK’s 2.2 million financial services jobs are outside London—in Manchester, in Edinburgh, in Birmingham, in Bristol.
So our work is not confined to the Square Mile or indeed London. It is increasingly clear that the UK’s cities are falling behind after years of underinvestment.
London would not be the global city it is today without the investment it has benefited from. But we should not accept that other cities in the UK with rich histories and huge potential of their own are not getting the support they need and do nothing about it. Travel to any part of the UK and you will find ideas and talent, all ready to show what is possible when support is given.
That is why we back calls from leaders in areas such as Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds for the Government to deliver on plans to upgrade transport and infrastructure where it is needed – and frankly, deserved.