NEWS that the financial services industry contributed £53.4bn to the Exchequer in tax during 20090-10 is welcome evidence that the City’s success spreads wealth across the wider economy.
This money will help to pay for schools, hospitals and other infrastructure that tangibly benefits individuals across the UK.
City businesses continue to make a significant contribution to the public finances even amidst challenging global economic conditions. These tax revenues are especially important in the wake of difficult measures outlined by the coalition government in the comprehensive spending review.
That is why we should all support the City, while recognising that carefully considered reforms are needed. It is in everybody’s interests that London and the UK are home to a successful financial services industry, which is currently responsible for employing over a million people.
In order to maximise these benefits – and ensure they are sustainable over the long term – we need to ensure firms continue to see the UK as a good place in which to be based and invest.
And, of course, these benefits are not simply restricted to tax revenues but encompass a far wider good.
During my year in office, I am championing efforts to get more people sharing directly in the success accrued from the City’s standing as a world leading global financial centre.
The Square Mile is a neighbour to some of the poorest areas in the UK. I have seen first-hand how regeneration, supported by the City not only through finance but also through the Corporation’s own initiatives, can help local communities create jobs and foster enterprise.
This also takes the form of philanthropy.
My own Lord Mayor’s Appeal, Bear Necessities – Building Better Lives, raises money for two worthy causes, both helping the disadvantaged: children’s charity Coram and the disaster relief charity RedR.
And the City’s livery companies and guilds still touch the lives of millions each year, providing an invaluable contribution to work with the young, elderly, and disabled and other worthwhile causes across all sections of society.
This contribution dates backs many centuries but is equally relevant today as part of the Prime Minister’s vision of the Big Society.
At this time of year, it is more important than ever that the City provides strong leadership when it comes to philanthropy. And my challenge to the City is that there is still more to be done. Michael Bear is Lord Mayor of the City of London