Keep London shining brightly and open to the world
A strong partnership between business and City Hall is vital to ensure London remains top of the list for global investment, the CBI’s Director-General said alongside the Mayor of London.
At the CBI’s annual London Lunch, held at Quaglino’s in St. James’s and sponsored by Vodafone, Carolyn will also call for the Mayor to press ahead with the capital’s biggest film studio in Dagenham, to make London the world’s most film-friendly city.
Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, will say:
“London’s light shines brightly in the world, not just for the people who live here, but for the firms who power its prosperity. In the CBI and CBRE’s latest London Business Survey, nine out of ten firms say London is a great place to do business.
“Its success lies in being open. Open to the best of what matters for a vibrant city economy: to ideas and people from near and far, of all backgrounds and beliefs. It is famous as the global capital of financial and professional services, for its diversity and internationalism.
“As Brexit uncertainty continues, London’s bright lights must not be allowed to dim, whether by accident, delay, or design. We must not close the door on its open economy.
“One million EU citizens live and work in London. The NHS has 13,000 staff from Ireland. 8,000 Poles, 7,500 Spaniards, 6,000 Italians. London’s hospitals have more EU-born staff than any other English region. If even some decide to leave, both our health and wealth will suffer.
“After 15 months of human poker, the uncertainty facing them has become intolerable. It is a blight on the values of our nation.
“The CBI’s view is unchanged. One week after the EU referendum we called for an unconditional guarantee from the UK government that EU citizens can stay. And today I say it again. We’re proud to stand shoulder to shoulder on this issue with the TUC, with you Sadiq, and many others.
“Firms in London are already making plans to deal with the consequences of ‘no deal’, so agreeing transition terms by the end of this year and seeing the shape of the final deal in early 2018 are vital steps to keep London’s economy vibrant.
“And there is more to be done to keep London great. Crossrail 2 would be a massive boost for jobs and prosperity.
“Or on housing, where CBI London is part of a business-led campaign to double housebuilding in London to at least 50,000 homes a year by the end of 2020. This would allow more nurses, teachers and social workers to live in the communities where they work.
“Again, Sadiq, we welcome your pledge to build 90,000 new affordable homes and make the market better for renters. CBI London and our members are here to work with you to raise the bar further, together protecting London’s status as a ‘liveable’ city, and enabling growing firms to attract the bright and mobile talent they need.
“London is on top of the world right now. Whether or not it stays there is up to us. We’ll need to be bold, ambitious, and invest in our companies, infrastructure and people.”
On London’s tech and creative companies, Carolyn will say:
“Our 2017 CBI/CBRE London Business Survey shows that two rising stars have established themselves among London’s more traditional economic engines. Two thirds of CBI members predict that the tech and creative sectors will drive London’s growth over the next five years.
“And it’s hard to disagree. Across the UK, the creative industries are growing almost three times faster than the rest of the economy. This explosive growth is down to a collection of UK firms that are hot property all over the world.
“Peppa Pig today bestrides the world like a bright pink colossus. In 2014 alone she generated revenue of more than $1bn. In the last two years, she’s had 34 billion views in China. That’s more than 320,000 views in the 10 minutes it’ll take to give this speech – in one country alone.
“Or leave TV and look at film. London isn’t just a backdrop to some of cinema’s most iconic scenes – it’s a hub for the global film industry.
“Sadiq – I know you’re considering green-lighting a new 17-acre film studio, London’s biggest, in Dagenham. It would go a long way towards making London the world’s most film-friendly city.
“Technology is advancing faster today than at any other point in human history. We must continue to adapt to nurture it as a pillar of London’s evolving global future.”