02 February 2021
Bulletin from The Rt Hon the Lord Mayor - 28 January 2021
I hope that as we enter 2021 you all remain safe and well after a break over Christmas. As January draws to a close the Lady Mayoress and I wish you a good New Year and hope that this year will be one which see all of us in the Livery build towards a recovery from COVID19. The challenges of this ongoing lockdown period are being felt in all aspects of our lives and I am conscious that they continue to have an impact on everything we do in the Livery. However, I hope that, like me, you see some cause for cautious optimism now that the roll out of a vaccination is underway. I feel lucky that, through my programme of virtual engagements, I am still able to pursue my Mayoral activities while based at home, and I would like to use this bulletin to update you a little on some of my current priorities.
This week I have been taking part in the virtual World Economic Forum, which would otherwise be happening in Davos in Switzerland. This annual gathering has been an excellent context in which to bring an international focus to finding a worldwide solution to the effects of COVID19. Over the last year we have seen how cooperation has been key to addressing the immediate impact of the virus, as the Livery has done so impressively since the crisis began, by working in tandem with partners and vulnerable communities. Similar collaboration, from the local level to the global, will be critical in the coming years to ensuring that London emerges from this period fit to maximise the opportunities of the future.
Building Back Better is therefore the number one priority of my second year in office and will be the theme of my Gresham Lecture, which I will deliver online on Monday 1 February at 18.00. In particular, I believe that the City of London and its world-leading financial services sector has an essential role to play in supporting a durable recovery that is both economically and environmentally sustainable. My lecture will look at how, through the City’s development of innovative green financial products and support for sustainable infrastructure, we can fight climate change and, at the same time, drive economic growth.
I will be joined at the virtual event by a panel of experts including former Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney, now the UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance. If you would like to hear more about how I believe the City can help us transition to a resilient future for all, you can watch the event online by registering at this link: https://www.gresham.ac.uk/lecturesand-events/2021-lord-mayor I hope you can join us! (Please note that this link will not work on Internet Explorer, and an alternative browser, such as Google Chrome or Safari, is required).
There are other reasons for believing that London can weather the current storm. A new piece of research launched last week confirmed that the City’s competitive strengths, even during a time of economic uncertainty and global upheaval, position it well to adapt to both current challenges and longer-term changes to the business environment. The benchmarking report, entitled “Our Global Offer to Business: London and the UK’s competitive strengths in a changing world” identifies that London has the strongest overall competitive offering, leading New York, Singapore, Hong Kong and Frankfurt on a range of issues.
The researchers in particular identify our success in tech and innovation, our respected regulatory and legal framework, and the quality of our talent pool, as well as the range and depth of our financial services activity, as key indicators of London’s future resilience. They also highlight areas for improvement and further development. The full report and its supporting data can be found here and is worth a read: https://www.theglobalcity.uk/competitiveness
Building London’s resilience and competitiveness is vital if we are truly to build back better from this crisis. So too will be the participation in that endeavour of all the City’s communities. The Livery has demonstrated this year its own determination to adapt, to support others and to find new ways of working. In these newsletters I have often spoken about the Livery projects being undertaken in response to COVID. In the midst of this second wave you may be interested to know that the Livery Kitchen Initiative, to which so many Livery Companies contribute, resumed its delivery of meals to frontline NHS staff in three London hospitals earlier this month. While providing 2,100 individuallyprepared meals to the Royal London, Newham University and Whipps Cross hospitals, the LKI continues to deliver 2000 meals a week to communities facing food poverty in East London. My thanks and congratulations go to all Livery companies taking part.
I much appreciate the input that I have received from so many liverymen on what you are doing at this time, and the insight you can provide into your trades and professions. I hope that during the coming year I can continue to draw on your expertise, enthusiasm and engagement. For the time being I am glad we are able to interact virtually, but I also look forward to a time when at least some of our activities can take place in person once again.
The Lady Mayoress and I send you our sincere good wishes for 2021 and our hope that we will see as many of you as possible over the coming year.
Alderman William Russell
The Rt Hon the Lord Mayor