TheCityUK proposes the budget focuses on levelling-up and looking outwards

Ahead of the UK’s first budget since leaving the EU, TheCityUK has proposed a series of measures targeted at boosting productivity and business activity right across the UK, while also refocusing and better resourcing efforts to promote and build trade and investment relationships overseas.

Miles Celic, Chief Executive Officer, TheCityUK, said, 

The UK economy is in urgent need of a hardware upgrade, as well as improved data gathering tools, if we are to compete in a highly connected digital global economy. To boost wider productivity, the UK should invest in infrastructure which binds our economy together, boosting connectivity across the country and with the rest of the world. There also needs to be a much clearer regional and sub-regional picture of how the economy works, as well greater resources and expertise in place to identify and exploit new trade and investment opportunities.”

Levelling-up
To help level-up all parts of the country, TheCityUK has urged the government to focus on boosting domestic and international interconnectivity through targeted digital and physical infrastructure investment, including:

  • meeting the target of ultrafast 100Mbps broadband to 95% of UK premises
  • rapid roll-out of 5G connectivity beyond urban areas where it is already available
  • greater investment and delivery of transport infrastructure to boost intercity connectivity, such as Northern Powerhouse Rail and HS2
  • boosting internal and international airport capacity across the UK, enabling an increase in direct flights to key developing and niche markets.

TheCityUK makes clear that to better understand what needs to be done to level-up all parts of the country, better data is needed. This will require further improvements to regional and sub-regional economic data gathering to help understand trends and facilitate better decision making.

Looking outwards
To achieve its vision of a more global Britain, TheCityUK urges the government to invest greater resource into the UK’s highly respected diplomatic networks, trade and investment expertise, and overseas business promotion activates.

This investment should be supported by closer policy and strategy consultation with industry to help identify opportunities and find solutions to existing barriers to trade. While examples like the Strategic Trade Advisory Group and the Expert Trade Advisory Groups are steps in the right direction, there is a need for systematic cross-governmental and coordination to maximise on global opportunities.

Read the full 2020 TheCityUK budget submission here.