Lord Mayor calls on UK regulators to ensure rulebook remains fit for the future

The 692nd Lord Mayor of the City of London, William Russell, will caution against a so-called ‘Singapore-on-Thames’ model of “sweeping deregulation and tax cuts”, as new figures show that the UK financial services sector contributed a record £75.6bn in tax in the year to March 2020.

At the Financial & Professional Services Address on Wednesday (10 February), the Lord Mayor will join the Governor of the Bank of England, Andrew Bailey, to highlight the key role the sector will have this year in making the UK more competitive, supporting the recovery from Covid-19, and providing the solutions to tackle climate change. He will also stress the need for the UK to retain openness to international business and talent and to continue to foster innovation in areas such as fintech and green finance.

The event comes as a new report published by the City of London Corporation today (10 February) shows that the UK’s financial services sector contributed a record £75.6bn in tax in the year to March 2020 – a period covering significant uncertainty about the UK’s relationship with the European Union. This contribution remained stable compared to the previous year’s figure of £75.5bn.

An extract from the Lord Mayor’s speech is found below. Please check against delivery.

“We know how important financial and professional services will be to the recovery.

“This year, we need to make sure we sustain and build up (the sector’s) advantages - not just safeguarding the UK’s competitiveness but enhancing it, as we tackle those issues which face us this year – our new position outside the EU, the recovery from the pandemic, and most importantly of all, the overarching threat of climate change.

“Now is the time to be entrepreneurial, to look again at how we do things, to consider how to take full advantage of our position.

“This emphatically does not mean pushing for sweeping deregulation and tax cuts, in what has often been called the ‘Singapore on Thames’ model – which rather misrepresents Singapore and the reasons for its success.

“It means continuing to improve the highly successful ‘London on Thames’ offer which we already have, recognising that high regulatory standards are one of our biggest advantages, and can continue to support innovation in areas like fintech and green finance.

“We will need to use the strength of our financial sector to support the economy through the recovery from Covid. The industry has already played a significant role supporting businesses through the pandemic and will have an ever-greater role to play in the recovery.

“As the economy opens up and the extent of the economic impact becomes clear – there is a vital role for the industry to support the recapitalisation of businesses. And our financial sector can demonstrate global leadership by making sure it is a green recovery.

“For this, we will need our regulators and government to continue to maintain a high-quality regulatory framework, to retain the openness to international business and talent, and to continue to foster innovation – in order to enhance the UK’s global competitiveness.

“We have the opportunity to streamline a regulatory regime that is a patchwork of systems and which was not designed for the challenges of the future. We would like to see any redesign done holistically rather than piecemeal.

“Of course, the City is keen to engage with and support this process. Just as the City wants to help the country to make full use of our position at G7 and COP26 to champion the global approaches we will need to solve our common international challenges – recovery from Covid, avoiding protectionism and fragmentation, and – most crucially of all – tackling climate change.”

To register for the event click here.


Notes to editors

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