Policy Chairman aims to bolster SME presence in the Square Mile

Speaking in the heart of the Square Mile today, City Corporation Policy Chairman Catherine McGuinness made clear that SMEs were the lifeline of London - one of the world’s leading financial hubs.

In a statement to the Court of Common Council, the City Corporation’s main decision-making body, the Policy Chairman said that although the City is home to many of the world’s largest financial firms, a staggering 99% of the businesses in the area are SMEs.

She said there has been significant work undertaken in the financial district to attract SMEs, such as more flexible leasing terms, greater infrastructure developments, more support networks and, in some models, mentoring.

Recent research shows that prime rents in the West End are £100 per square foot, while comparable space in the City is £70 per square foot.

Policy Chairman Catherine McGuinness commented:

“The Square Mile is known for its iconic skyscrapers, home to many of the world’s largest financial institutions. But the City of London is so much more than that.

“Innovation and entrepreneurialism lie at its core, and technology will be the future of finance.

“Our research confirms that the City remains an attractive location for SMEs, with clustering effects, world-class public realm, access to cultural facilities and more.

“The City’s office stock is continually adapting to provide new space. We are now seeing many tenants moving from the West End and other London boroughs into the City and vacancy rates here remain low.”

The number of businesses in the City increased by 42% between 2010 and 2016. 1,200 businesses start up in the City every year, and around another 1,200 choose to move into the City.

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