Chris Hayward is Policy Chairman at the City of London Corporation.
Many of our City residents had to spend most of last week working at home due to rail strikes.
For us in the City, we hope that the new year will bring a swift resolution to the railways’ industrial action so that workers can return and the Square Mile can unlock its post-pandemic potential.
Ending this disruption is key to the City’s recovery.
But unlocking all that the Square Mile has to offer, realising our full promise as the best place to live, work, and play, is not just about transport, though it is an important part.
At the City of London Corporation, we are taking a holistic look at what the Square Mile offers and what more we can do to make the City even more attractive.
We want the City’s streets to be bustling, our shops to be busy, our local economy buoyant.
That means finding ways to appeal to residents, workers and tourists through art, entertainment, sport, and more.
Last year, we launched our bold Destination City initiative to transform the Square Mile and boost footfall lost because of the pandemic.
Destination City will power the Square Mile’s recovery, creating a must-see leisure destination and improving our streets, which will be of great benefit to residents.
Our Golden Key launch event last October was a tremendous success as we welcomed over 30,000 visitors to the City for an extravaganza of fun.
Partner organisations such as the Museum of London also did well. The Museum had its busiest day of the year.
To attract people from across the UK and all corners of the globe, we need to animate our unrivalled heritage and history, celebrate our world-renowned arts and culture, and enhance our attractiveness as a global destination.
It’s all part of a series of greater investments that we are making, like financially supporting Crossrail, trialling a City-wide 5G pilot with a full roll-out for all residents by the end of this year, and working with leading experts to revitalise our shops to benefit those who live and work here.
As 2023 develops, we will announce more plans to boost our reputation as a place where people want to live, work and visit.
If we can attract more people to the Square Mile, bringing workers back to their City offices, and make the streets a more alluring place to spend time and money, the City’s residents will all feel the benefits of recovery.
As the engine in the national economy, home to a record high total of 587,000 local jobs in 2021, it’s vital that we make the Square Mile as competitive and attractive as possible.
Ultimately, a strong City is good for the country, and a strong country is good for the City – it is that simple.
Therefore, to navigate these difficult economic times, we need to give the Square Mile, the capital, and indeed the country our vote of confidence as the place to be – Destination City achieves just that.