Economic growth in the City of London

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Chris Hayward
Credit Jamie Smith and City of London Corporation

As Sadiq Khan returns to City Hall for an unprecedented third term as Mayor of London, this is a good moment to take stock of the challenges in the next four years, that we in the Square Mile and Greater London must overcome together. Foremost is cementing London’s place as a global powerhouse.

We must continue to be a dynamic, thriving city that people and businesses want to call home. That requires an entire ecosystem built for success: good transport, excellent schools, a welcoming business culture, and more.

But underpinning all our ambitions is economic growth and productivity.

Economic growth is vital for new, higher-paying jobs, creation of new businesses and products, and through increased tax revenues, helps fund our vital public services. As former Bank of England Chief Economist, Andy Haldane, said, ‘sustained rises in GDP have been shown, over the course of history to improve our health, our wealth, and our happiness.’

We must continue to take steps forward, driving economic growth and raising productivity by exploring new fields, harnessing new technologies, and supporting people to develop new skills.

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The answer to these fundamental economic questions can be found in the financial and professional services sector that is based in the Square Mile.

City of London jobs are currently at a record high, up 13% on pre-pandemic levels, whilst the sector contributed £294 billion in economic output in 2023. Add to the mix the fact that financial services jobs are one of the country’s most productive sectors – generating £177,000 in output for every job in 2022 – and you have a recipe for success.

Where the City succeeds, London succeeds. Where London succeeds, the country succeeds – it is that simple.

And at this critical moment, now is the time for all of our great capital to work together to develop the skills, the investment, and the businesses of the future.

The Square Mile keenly awaits the Mayor’s new ‘London Growth Plan’. This is a tremendous opportunity to collaborate and develop sectors that are not only vital to the Square Mile, but for London and indeed the country. The City Corporation’s own Vision for Economic Growth report highlighted raising investment levels, anchoring the UK as a leader in sustainable finance, and becoming a digital-first economy as central to our country’s long-term economic health.

Working together, City Hall and Guildhall, I am confident that we will drive economic growth because the Square Mile has a track record of success of working with Mayors of all political persuasions.

We have delivered the Elizabeth Line, resulting in the Square Mile being more accessible than ever with Liverpool Street now the country’s busiest railway station. We have delivered investment into our capital, working with London & Partners to attract international funding. And together, we will deliver a new, world-leading, London Museum.

We must keep delivering, keep working for the people and businesses all across London and further afield, and keep expanding our horizons. Our ambition must be to not only maintain, but strengthen, London’s diverse economic and cultural appeal – the voters expect nothing less.

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