Chris Cummings, Chief Executive, TheCityUK, said:
Only business can deliver lasting economic growth and create the jobs that our nation needs. With global economic factors giving a backdrop of slowing growth, and the continued focus on fiscal consolidation, it is essential for Government to maintain effective partnerships with business and support the UK's strategically significant sectors to ensure robust economic activity. As an industry that is on average 70% more productive than other sectors in the UK, employs over 2.2 million people right across the country in high value jobs, is the largest tax payer and an enabler for growth across the wider economy, financial and related professional services certainly meet the criteria.
On competitiveness: “Maintaining the attractiveness of the UK should be at the heart of the Government’s agenda. The success of any industry depends upon the quality of the people who work in it. Building a deep pool of talent attracts firms to invest in the UK, but it must go hand-in-hand with the ability to attract and retain the best global talent: it is essential for the UK's long term competitiveness and our ability to continue to attract high levels of foreign direct investment. Financial services attracts more foreign direct investment than any other sector and that creates jobs across the whole of the UK."
On infrastructure: “The Chancellor’s commitment to key infrastructure investment in rail, road and energy across the country is positive. It is right, fair and urgent that all parts of the UK—not just London and the South East of England—see job creation and economic growth and better infrastructure will be critical in this regard. The focus must now be on delivery and a close partnership between the Government and industry will be essential. The creation of the new Infrastructure and Projects Authority in 2016 will be vital. Next year’s National Infrastructure Delivery Plan will also require clear prioritisation and a pipeline of projects that will, in turn, help to reduce bidding costs and provide cost savings from a stronger system of competitive tendering.”
On protecting the FCO’s budget: “We have long championed the value to the UK’s economic prosperity and security of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. The Chancellor’s pledge to protect its budget in real terms and strengthen its global network is both welcome and essential if the UK is to pursue its interests and campaign effectively for more open global trade and investment.”
On supporting SME exports: “TheCityUK has made a number of recommendations on strengthening SME exports and diversifying sources of SME finance. We welcome the Government’s plan to simplify UK trade support and to join it up effectively with other government services. The sharing of SME credit data is something for which we have long called.”
On the Northern Powerhouse and Enterprise Zones: “We support the Government’s further commitment today to the development of the Northern Powerhouse, including the creation of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, more funding for Northern Powerhouse trade missions and £7million to fund a Northern Powerhouse Investment Taskforce. The announcement of 26 additional Enterprise Zones is welcome and we look forward to constructive engagement between our industry and the Government on these important projects to help create more jobs and further support regional growth.”
You can read our comprehensive analysis of the Autumn Statement and Spending Review here.