Trust, trade, and civic responsibility: A manifesto for the City of London’s future

 
Charles Bowman
Crowds Watch The Lord Mayor's Show
Thousands of people lined the Square Mile’s streets to celebrate the City’s heritage and colour (Source: Getty)

The last few days have certainly been a whirlwind, after being installed as the 690th lord mayor of the City of London on Friday afternoon.

Without doubt, the highlight of the last 72 hours has been the success of the Lord Mayor’s Show on Saturday. Thousands of people lined the Square Mile’s streets to celebrate the City’s heritage and colour, while bringing together so many diverse groups and communities from London and the UK.

But now it is well and truly down to business. So what do I have planned for the year?

Read more: Lord Mayor's Show: 690th Lord Mayor Charles Bowman is sworn in with a bang

I have three objectives, with the first being the promotion of the City both domestically and internationally. Making sure that the City gets the best possible result from the Brexit negotiations is of course high up the agenda.

When I am sat next to the Prime Minister tonight at our annual Guildhall Banquet, and in regular meetings with government, I will continue to press the case as to why the City matters to the UK economy.

In particular I will stress that there are 2.2m people employed in this sector and £71.4bn paid last year in tax revenues. A Brexit result that is bad for the City is not seen in isolation, but will also be bad for the UK.

Away from home there will be a busy year of travel to 27 countries, often joined by City firms, where I will banging the drum for the UK’s financial and professional services sector, aiming to open doors for trade and investment opportunities.

While there are a number of emerging markets on that list, the likes of China, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan – among our strongest trade partners outside of the EU – are countries where I am especially looking for commercial opportunities.

Second, I will do all I can to restore trust in business, or more specifically the financial and professional services sector.

Later this week, I will launch our Business of Trust programme, where more details of this work will be revealed. This will be the beginning of a long term programme of research, action and events that will provide a roadmap for greater public trust and greater public prosperity.

It will also look to identify how the City can meet the public’s changing expectations of business, increase its trustworthiness, and ensure better business trusted by society. But we do need the support of City firms to make it a success.

Finally, I will be tirelessly promoting the worthwhile causes of the Lord Mayor’s Appeal and improving access for those want to work in the City. What we now have is multi-year programme in place for the Appeal, working on four key pillars to build a City that is inclusive, healthy, skilled, and fair.

The beneficiaries of the appeal – The Samaritans, OnSide Youth Zones, and Place2Be – are all great causes, and I hope readers can support them in any way they can with the activities we have planned for the year.

In 12 months’ time, I hope to look back, reflect on what I did in office and see a better City for all. It will no doubt be challenge, but it is one I am immensely looking forward to.

Read more: Theresa May to meet EU business bosses in Brexit charm offensive

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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