Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to stand up for Britain’s financial services industry “at every turn”.
Speaking at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet at London’s Guildhall last night, he said he is determined London remains Europe’s pre-eminent financial centre.
He said: “I can promise you this: we will stand up at each and every turn, for our financial services industry and the City of London. London is the pre-eminent financial centre. With this government, I am determined it will remain so.”
Angela Eagle, Shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, said with the European Union’s (EU) current work on regulation of financial services, protecting “sensible” interests of financial services was necessary.
She said: “Clearly we have the largest financial services sector in the EU, so we always have to be careful to ensure that sensible interests of our financial services sector are looked after properly.”
Cameron said the government’s foreign policy will be more commercial, making Britain a more attractive place to invest as well as selling Britain to the world and increasing trade with emerging economies. (article continues below)
He said: “Some people think it is somehow grubby to mix money and diplomacy. I say: when it is harder than ever for this country to earn a living, we need to mobilise all the resources we can.”
Britain’s commercial strength, he said, was one resource which would lead to it remaining as a major global player.
“We have the resources – commercial, military and cultural – to remain a major player in the world”
He said: “We have the resources – commercial, military and cultural – to remain a major player in the world.”
Cameron said lowering corporation tax to the lowest in the G7, cutting the time it takes to set up a new business and reducing “excessive regulation” was intended to make Britain the easiest place in the world to do business.
He said: “We’re already ranked first in Europe for ease of doing business, and we intend to become first in the world.”
Cameron said: “The are some who say Britain is embarked on an inevitable path of decline. That the rise of new economic powers is the end of Britain’s influence in the world, that we are caught in some vast zero-sum game in which we are bound to lose out.”
He said: “I want to take that argument head on. Show me a city in the world with stonger credentials than the City of London. Show me another gathering with the same line-up of financial, legal acounting, communications and other professional expertise.”
He added: “Britain remains a great economic power.”