Rapid responses

Open for business?

[Re: Will the City struggle to retain its position as the world’s financial centre? Friday]

It is important that London retains its status as a major international financial centre, but it faces many challenges. London has always been seen as an automatic choice of location for foreign banks, but there are concerns that it may be moving from an automatic choice to a considered option. It is a challenging time for banks anywhere, but many factors are influencing their choice of location. Firstly, regulation: the dangers of regulatory arbitrage are increasing as global centres seek to attract financial and related professional services business. The benefit from consequential employment by this sector cannot be ignored. Secondly, taxation: corporate fiscal revenues from the foreign banks in the UK have run into the billions of pounds in recent years, and they are an attractive boost to a nation’s economy. More tax-friendly regimes, with a certainty of fiscal legislation, can appear attractive. Thirdly, immigration: a huge number of non-European nationals are employed in this sector and it is important that the UK is seen as open for business and “visa friendly” to these influential inward investors. The position of the UK outside the Schengen Agreement on European free movement makes the UK less attractive for investors looking to expand throughout Europe.

John Treadwell, chief executive, Association of Foreign Banks



The BBC needs to install a strong director general and sort out problems. It’s essential to restore trust in our great national asset.

The BBC needs to be more accountable – not to itself, not to MPs, but to us. That has to mean a change in how it’s funded.

George Entwistle will be getting £450,000 for 55 days work. That’s £8,181 per day. That’s £340 per hour. That’s lunacy.

George Osborne must surely scrap increase in fuel duty in Autumn Statement – £350m is nothing in the grand scheme of life!