Post strikes will do most damage to Royal Mail

IF THIS week&rsquo;s postal strike goes ahead from Thursday, as expected, the Square Mile will not come to a grinding halt.<br /><br />The rise of the internet, email and electronic trading platforms mean that the Royal Mail&rsquo;s integral role of facilitating business between City firms are long gone. I suspect that more damage will be caused to Royal Mail&rsquo;s brand and corporate reputation than to the financial services sector. However, London&rsquo;s image does not escape unscathed.<br /><br />Royal Mail has already lost substantial contracts with Amazon and John Lewis, who have switched to alternative carriers. The timing of the strike, of course, could not be worse: the run-up to Christmas is the busiest period of the year for deliveries.<br /><br />Most trading may now take place at the click of a button, but many individuals and, in particular, small businesses and residents, still rely on traditional methods of communication. According to the London Chamber of Commerce, the postal strikes in 2007 cost &pound;300m in the capital alone.<br /><br />We cannot let our reputation as a world leading financial centre be tarnished by infrastructure problems, especially in the wake of the London Underground strike in June. This is why countercyclical investment on projects such as Crossrail is needed to meet the challenges of the future and aid economic recovery.<br /><br />A well-functioning infrastructure network plays a crucial role in enabling people to access public transport, education, healthcare and other key services. Cities with the best infrastructure networks attract the best pools of talent which, in turn, will drive future economic growth. Rapidly developing centres in Asia and Latin America have recognised this fact and are investing huge sums of capital to deliver a better quality of life for their population.<br /><br />During my current visit to India, I can see the real benefits that innovative infrastructure financing and public private partnerships can bring to ordinary people.<br /><br />For example, a Metro line designed in part by British company Mott Macdonald is being built between Indira Gandhi Airport and New Delhi, which I will visit later this week. These types of projects are essential if India is to fulfil expectations by becoming a global economic powerhouse of the 21st century.<br /><br />Over the next five years, more than $500bn will be required to fund infrastructural development in India.<br /><br />India is a vital trading partner for the UK: we share key investment and cultural links and the bilateral trade between our two countries is more than &pound;12 billion. Furthermore, the London Stock Exchange hosts more than 50 Indian companies, and the UK is the third largest investor in India. We must keep strengthening this mutually beneficial relationship.<br /><br />Ian Luder is Lord Mayor of the City of London