'Unthinkables' in the City of London

What does Osborne need to do if he wants to avoid the ignominy not only of suffering credit downgrades, but of being the Chancellor who presided over London losing its billing as the world's premiere financial centre?

by Donna Rachel Edmunds on 2 May 2013 08:42

Economics is not proving to be this Government’s strong point. Osborne’s stewardship of the Treasury has so far proved a failure even by his own standards, with higher borrowing than planned leading to British bonds being downgraded by two ratings agencies in the last few months.

There is however one measure still in Britain's favour: despite the rhetorical battering it has taken since the credit crunch crisis of 2008, The City is so far clinging on to its number one ranking as a global trading centre, according to the Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI). 

The Index is compiled twice a year by Y/Zen Group by collating information from a wide range of sources, including the OECD, World Bank and Economist Intelligence Unit. Rankings are arrived at through collating information on five indices: people, business environment, market access, infrastructure and general competitiveness.

The Index is now in its 13th edition, and apart from a small blip around five years ago when New York briefly edged ahead, London has topped the index in every edition. But for how long?

Looking back over the six and a half years, The scores for London and New York have roughly flat-lined around the 800 mark, whilst the scores for Hong Kong and Singapore, ranked third and fourth respectively, have been surging ever upwards. On current trends, both Cities will overtake London as global financial centres within the next twelve months.

The causes are wide-ranging, but include regulatory threats from Westminster and Brussels, and the East’s strong performance. So what does Osborne need to do if he wants to avoid the ignominy not only of suffering credit downgrades, but of being the Chancellor who presided over London losing its billing as the world's premiere financial centre?

Radical thinking is what is needed in these unusual times, which is why the Bow Group has assembled three distinguished speakers, Mark Littlewood, Andrew Lilico and John Stevens, for the first in our new series of 'Unthinkables' discussions this evening. Each will present their radical and controversial solution to saving the City of London, from creating a tax free enterprise zone to adopting the Euro.

Admission is free, so please join us at the offices of the Institute of Economic Affairs, 2 Lord North Street (entrance on Great Peter Street) at 7pm this evening for what promises to be a lively discussion.

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