We are leaving the EU tomorrow and, despite the mixed feelings surrounding this new chapter, there is much to be cheerful about.
Business leaders are already expressing a newly-restored confidence in London. A raft of new information — such as the latest Deloitte CFO optimism survey, key PMI figures, household and consumer confidence data — gives us plenty of ground on which to flourish.
Optimism is the order of the day and I just wish people in power, such as the incumbent London mayor, would sign up to this train of thought.
Christian Sewing of Deutsche Bank has welcomed the “clarity and certainty” that a Boris majority provides. Unfortunately, Sadiq Khan has spent the last four years focused on fighting Trump, wasting millions on PR, putting on bicycle ballets and beach parties and worse of all, turning his back on business. His focus should have been on keeping London safe and showcasing all London’s economy has to offer.
Under his watch, crime is up and London’s standing is down. It is clear that London needs a champion who understands the new world we find ourselves in. I plan to be that champion if elected.
With a day to go before we officially leave the EU, we have to acknowledge that Brexit was a hugely divisive issue, but now is the time to unite the country and unite our capital.
How often does a nation or city like ours get the chance to recalibrate our economic priorities from effectively ground zero? To start again?
We’ll match the high standards the EU has helped set in many areas, but now we are free to go above and beyond them too.
One such upside is being able to have a more positive approach to developing nations. Outside the EU the UK government will be free to strike out and set a genuinely positive agenda on behalf of global Britain.
Now more than ever London needs someone who knows the international landscape has existing relationships with key overseas partners and understands global business. That’s why if elected to City Hall I would appoint a deputy mayor with a special portfolio as an international trade adviser, whose sole job is to bang the drum for London.
There’s so many potential avenues for improving Londoner’s lives now that we’ve left the EU. Every year our city spends an estimated £3.5bn on gas and electric household bills and more than one in 10 London households are living in fuel poverty.
The rate of VAT on household gas and electricity bills is, until tomorrow, locked in by EU rules. As mayor, I would call on the government to abolish VAT on energy bills.
Away from the EU there is a world of possibilities. We can strike out and form better and deeper partnerships with our Commonwealth friends, building upon successful events such as the recent UK-Africa Investment Summit.
Positivity unlocks prosperity, I say let’s have some more of it.
Shaun Bailey is the Conservative Party candidate for the 2020 London mayoral election
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