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Ministers must ditch their anti-London mindset and back ‘roadmap’ for City growth

London’s top flight moved 46.67 points lower to finish at 7,310.21 (James Manning/PA) (PA Wire)
London’s top flight moved 46.67 points lower to finish at 7,310.21 (James Manning/PA) (PA Wire)

It is fair to say the City is not in a golden era right now. Fundraising and deal-making are sharply down, overseas rivals are raising their game.

Post the twin shocks of Brexit and the pandemic, the Square Mile has simply not recaptured its swagger of old. There is a sense of drift.

Some of this is cyclical, but given the City’s huge role in the London and national economy it is a cause for concern. Today the City of London Corporation unveils its “roadmap for prosperity” blueprint for getting the City firing on all cylinders again.

It claims that the package of reforms and initiatives could boost UK plc by more than £225 billion a year beyond 2030.

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The report, Vision for Economic Growth, calls for an acceleration in the digital revolution in financial services to reduce losses from fraud and improve efficiency. Creating a UK version of the US EDGAR system of machine-readable company filings should be a priority.

Establishing the UK as a world leader for sustainable financial markets would put the country at the forefront of a powerful economic trend.

The report also echoes Jeremy Hunt’s calls for the pension industry to direct more funds into unlisted fast-growth companies. Finally there are demands for a government financial and professional services council, and more serviceoriented trade partnerships.

There is much in the report to ponder on. But will it be just another well intentioned document littering the path of long-term decline?

Only time will tell but, for starters, the Government needs to ditch its anti-London mindset. And fast.