Monday 23 March 2020 4:02 am

The fundamental strengths of London will help us to recover, as we have done before

William Russell is Lord Mayor of London.

In times of crisis such as these, we often see the very best in one another. 

This is being vividly demonstrated across the City by the spirit of community, resilience and support which is so evident as we respond together to the threat of Covid-19.

We have seen difficult times before and have come through them by working together, whether it be locally, nationally, or globally. Businesses, workers, residents and visitors can be assured that we at the City of London Corporation will do everything we can to help.

We will be supporting the City, to help employees, businesses and the financial system. We will be sustaining our work on long-term competitiveness, for example by continuing our climate action work. And we will be speeding the recovery so we are ready, whenever the moment comes, to relaunch a full and strong economy. 

This won’t be easy. But the pandemic won’t defeat London’s spirit of innovation, and our fundamental strengths will help us prevail. 

We are a capital of global talent with a highly-skilled workforce and more international HQs than any other European city. We will always be a city of creative energy with hundreds of art galleries and museums, beautiful open spaces and four Unesco World Heritage sites. Our time zone won’t change, our belief in the rule of law will remain steadfast, and our commitment to open and free markets won’t falter.

Above all, our biggest strength is our ability to be dynamic and adapt to changing circumstances, and it’s why London and the UK will always be a leading global financial centre. It’s the reason why we will remain focused on tackling long-term challenges such as climate change, why we’re leading the way on fintech and the digitisation of global finance. 

And it will also be why we’ll play an integral role in supporting the national and global economies both during and after this current Covid-19 outbreak. 

In the meantime, we will maintain critical functions and services for our communities, support our vulnerable friends and neighbours, and work with all front-line agencies to deal with this crisis. In doing so, we will maintain confidence in this vibrant, thriving, dynamic and diverse City. 

That is why we welcome the steps announced by the chancellor last week to tide businesses over through the current storm. Extending the business rates holiday across the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors in particular offered some much-needed relief for firms in these turbulent times.

We know these will be difficult and even unhappy times for many of our communities and businesses.  But the fundamental strengths of London will help us to recover and rebuild, as we have done before. 

This City has come through difficult times in the past, but there are good reasons for a quiet confidence when it comes to our future. We are all in this together and will rise to the challenge, as we have done before.

By working together, we will overcome this current pandemic.

Main image credit: Getty

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