As the 692nd lord mayor of the City of London, it is an enormous privilege to represent the greatest city in the world.
I was delighted to start my term with a spectacular cultural event on Saturday at the Lord Mayor’s Show, which brought together different communities from across the capital and beyond.
This showcased how culture is integral to the enduring success of the City, London, and the UK.
That’s why I have dedicated my mayoralty to the theme of “Global UK: Trade, Innovation and Culture”. My aim is to highlight the connectivity between these three pillars in a thriving local, national, and international economy.
First, trade and commerce have been at the heart of what the City does for centuries. I will promote the UK’s world-leading financial and professional services, both domestically and during visits to around 25 key international markets, looking to maximise overseas opportunities for UK firms and attract inward investment.
Second, I will work with businesses to bang the drum for the very best that the UK has to offer in innovative areas such as fintech and green finance, while also promoting digital innovations in education as the boundaries between industries become ever more blurred.
Finally, I will champion a rich and vibrant cultural economy. No other city on the planet has the history and the heritage, the cultural riches and the creativity, that we have in London.
The Square Mile is, of course, already home to a number of world-class institutions, such as the Barbican, the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, the London Symphony Orchestra, and the Museum of London. These are assets that make the City such an attractive place to live, work and visit – which is why the City Corporation is the UK’s fourth largest funder of cultural activities, contributing over £100m every year.
Our ambitious Culture Mile project — which is hosting a nocturnal three-night festival entitled Culture Mile Nights, taking place later this month to celebrate the night-time economy of West Smithfield — is seeking to build on this strong foundation by creating a world-leading cultural destination in the north-west corner of the City.
The creative industries are significant employers in the Square Mile, and I will be delighted to promote the role they play.
My time in office will of course coincide with the continuation of the Brexit saga. Whatever happens on 12 December, I hope that this election provides a clear and positive path forwards for the UK and EU’s future trading relationship, for the benefit of businesses and consumers on both sides of the Channel.
The world is not stopping for Brexit, however, so we must continue to promote a confident long-term vision of London and the UK.
Our trading expertise, our ability to innovate, and our unique creative and cultural credentials mean that we are well-placed to seize new opportunities as the global economy evolves.
I firmly believe that the City will continue to flourish as part of a vibrant London and a global UK, regardless of political developments, thanks to these fundamental strengths.
Main image credit: Getty