Tuesday 23 February 2021
The Chief Executive of London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Richard Burge, has this morning written to London's MPs, about the lockdown easing plan and the need for both Westminster and City Hall to work closely together to talk up the vital role of London, and its global footprint, in driving economic recovery from COVID-19 across the UK.
The letter reads as follows:
Dear London Member of Parliament,
I write to ask you, as a London MP, to support the strategy laid out yesterday by the Prime Minister, the Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Scientific Adviser to address the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK. We believe that this offers us a reasonable, pragmatic, and prudent approach to bringing us out of the pandemic so that a normal but adjusted business and social life can resume. Of course, there are questions around components of the programme, however, continued quibbling about the strategy will undermine its effectiveness and prolong the damaging economic consequences. What business needs is certainty and consistency based on the best available evidence. So the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry asks, individually and collectively, London MPs to back this programme clearly and without condition.
The Chamber and the businesses whose views we reflect would rather you devote your attention and expertise to the creation, funding, and implementation of recovery plan once we are out of this tunnel. Over the coming months the London Chamber, with colleagues in the London Local Chambers, and across the country with the British Chambers of Commerce, will be putting proposals forward to recapitalise the British business economy. This will require the laying aside of party ideology and a willingness to explore innovative approaches to business finance, to skills, and to the development of trade and commerce.
For London in particular, this means a crucial focus on the Central Activities Zone as the core of our city’s international role and our sustainability as a global city. You will be hearing more from my colleagues in the Central London Alliance. It will also require your good offices to bridge the gulf between No 10 and City Hall. This is not just about London’s own economic needs, but its role as the engine room of the UK’s national recovery. London is a global city so its contribution to other nations around the world is critical to our international standing. If London does not recover quickly and dynamically, these countries will find other sources of expertise, finance, and services from whose embrace they will not return. If London is to serve our nation, we must stop treating it as a mere subset of the national picture.
With many thanks for your attention and consideration.
London Chamber of Commerce and Industry