"You find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” This famous quotation by British poet Samuel Johnson still holds true about our great city some 240 years later.
London is a global hub for not only business, but also for theatre, music and the full spectrum of the arts and creative industries. There is something new and exciting to see and do around every corner.
In a study released by HSBC last week, the UK was ranked as one of the top international locations in which to have a successful expat career, and also as one of the top global destinations in which to pick up new skills. PwC found last year that London is the best place in the world in which to do business, and highlighted the capital’s attractiveness as a global hub for the very best of business and for its international workforce. Moreover, the Global Cities 2016 report by management consultancy AT Kearney named London as the top global location for cultural experiences and sporting events.
While it is important to be attractive to businesses, it is also important that workers are able to truly live where they work, which shows the significance of London’s many cultural, social, and heritage activities. Our great city is home to over 1,000 museums and art galleries – from the world-famous displays at the Victoria and Albert, Science, and Natural History Museums, to the wonderfully niche collection at Sir John Soane’s Museum in Holborn.
London has the greatest amount of public green space of any European city, including a wealth of parks, gardens, forests and heaths. London is Europe’s entertainment hub – with the largest number of theatre performances, the most night clubs, 87 Michelin starred restaurants, and the biggest street party in the Notting Hill Carnival! This incredible city is such a vibrant and thrilling place to visit, live and work.
However, it goes without saying that we cannot rest on our laurels. We must continue to innovate and to invest, to ensure we continue to have the freshest, most interesting and most diverse social offer, and remain open to talented people from across the world. This means targeted support for the arts and culture, and also, crucially, ensuring that transportation and infrastructure across Greater London are up to scratch for modern needs.
We need to build new homes to meet demand to halt the erosion of affordability that poses a clear and present threat to competitiveness and social mobility. I look forward to raising these points with mayor Sadiq Khan at the London Government Dinner at the Mansion House later this week. We both recognise the paramount importance of protecting and promoting such a precious asset to this nation: London.
I myself am Mancunian by birth and Blackpudlian by upbringing, but an extremely proud Londoner to my core. I know the priceless value of this city to businesses and communities across the UK, and I know London is the greatest city in the world. Throughout the course of this year, I will continue to champion all that London has to offer; from the beating heart of City businesses, to the shining lights of the West End, to the rolling hills of Epping Forest and Hampstead Heath.