Lord Mayor of London Addresses Guests at BCA Conference, Canary Wharf
The Lord Mayor of London, Alderman Nick Anstee, has this morning addressed guests of the Business Centre Association’s (BCA) annual conference at Canary Wharf, central London.
Alderman Anstee, who has served on many of the City of London Corporation’s key committees, including three years as Chairman of its Central Markets Committee, delivered the keynote address to delegates of the business centre and serviced office industry, among them officebroker.com’s Managing Director Jim Venables and Marketing & PR Executive, Simon Jones.
Addressing the 200-strong business audience at the Hilton London in Canary Wharf, Alderman Anstee said that London’s contribution to the economic success of the UK as a whole is pivotal.
“The promotion and success of London is a barometer and forerunner of economic success throughout the UK,” he said. “The capital punches well above its weight: with just 12.4% of the population, it contributes 18% to the UK’s total tax take. Financial services contribute some 18.3% to London’s economy compared to just over 8% to the UK’s economy.”
However, Alderman Anstee followed this up by attributing part of the capital’s strength to other parts of the country, including cities such as Manchester, Edinburgh, Sheffield and Glasgow.
“It is a mutually enforcing link,” he stated, adding that the diversity and the different experiences that these cities provide to investors “plays to our advantage” by offering a business-friendly gateway to Europe.
The Lord Mayor said that restoring trust between the City and wider society had been a key goal of his office over the past year, which he had aimed to achieve through three major objectives:
– Better corporate governance and self-regulation;
– Demonstrating that the financial services industry adds value to society and the real economy;
– Having a single, independent, authoritative voice for the industry.
As an example of the third point, a new body called TheCityUK is in progress to promote the UK-wide financial services industry, to which the Lord Mayor asked the audience to lend their support.
Space for small businesses
For small businesses, the Lord Mayor commented that the City Corporation runs two business centres and has, since 2005, delivered 100,000 sq ft of floorspace to the market as part of its SME initiative. Plans are also in place for the corporation to become a founding partner of a new centre, that will provide start-up businesses with incubation space and serviced offices support. The centre is due to open this autumn.
“We know how important SMEs are to the City of London and to the UK economy,” he said. “They represent the overwhelming majority of businesses. And we have a comprehensive programme of measures in place in the City of London to assist SMEs get through the downturn both here and in neighbouring boroughs.”
Alderman Anstee commented that “BCA members also provide opportunities for SMEs to acquire flexible space without a lease – which is particularly valuable for all businesses in the current economic climate.”
Ending his address on a positive note, he said he believed that foreign direct investment in the capital will increase, City employment will grow and relationships with the wider international community will continue to strengthen.
In the short-term, he said the property fee earners in the audience would be pleased to hear that the City Corporation plans to build on its recent purchases in Fleet Street, Eastcheap and Shoreditch, and is open to individual or partnership opportunities.