City of London Corporation Policy Chairman calls for flipping of UK trade policy

City of London Corporation’s Policy Chairman, Chris Hayward, will tonight (19 February) deliver a speech at the annual Policy and Resources Committee Dinner to an audience of senior representatives from across the financial and professional services industry.

The Policy Chairman will speak alongside Sir David Lidington, Chair of the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI), whose previous roles include Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Leader of the House of Commons, Europe Minister at the Foreign Office and Deputy Prime Minister.

An extract from the Policy Chairman’s speech is found below. Please check against delivery.

“Throughout our history, trade has expanded our horizons, growing businesses, creating jobs, and boosting prosperity. Today, our economy is built on services. Services contribute 81% total gross value added and 85% of all jobs nationwide.

And sitting right at the heart of Britain’s economy is financial and professional services – contributing £278 billion and £100 billion in taxes, representing 13 percent of the entire tax revenues of the Treasury. That’s more than our annual defence and policing budget combined.

“In twenty-first century Britain, we are no longer a nation of shopkeepers but service providers. But my challenge to government is to suggest that our trade policy does not recognise this. We must play to our strengths and flip our trade policy. Prioritising trade policy to promote services – as much as goods – is not creative genius – its common sense.

“As a country, we export more of our management consultancy services than we do cars, so let’s celebrate everyone who is showcasing the talent and expertise of this nation globally. 

“Now, importantly, all political parties are looking for the key that unlocks economic growth and productivity.

“Embedding services into the heart of our trade strategy is a vital step forward that any future government must take.  Of course, that includes trading with key partners such as the European Union – a subject that our guest speaker, the former Europe Minister knows well.

“The Memorandum of Understanding on financial services, the Windsor Framework, the restoration of power sharing in Northern Ireland are all positive steps in this regard.

“In short, better trading relationships, better trading frameworks can help deliver a better Britain.

“If we want a world-leading economy where jobs are well-paid, if we want prosperity to flow to all parts of our country, if we want to provide leadership for new opportunities such as AI, we must expand our horizons and flip trade policy for our strengths in services as much as goods.

“That is what the City’s Vision for Economic Growth can deliver: a roadmap to prosperity for all. It is a growth plan that many of us in this room created together.

“Our proposals demonstrated how the nation could achieve £225 billion of additional investment by implementing our programme of action.

“We can unlock economic growth and prosperity right across our nations and regions.”

 Notes to editors

The Vision for Economic Growth: A Roadmap to Prosperity report can be accessed here: Vision For Economic Growth.

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK. www.cityoflondon.gov.uk