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London Business Matters

4 Your business February 2017 Shock and soar The results of LCCI’s 2016 Q4 economic survey – for details see page 5 – were launched last month at Capita Plc’s Gresham Street premises writes Thomas Wagemaakers. Expert panellists included Andrew Hawkins, executive chairman of ComRes, Cebr economist Vicky Pryce, City A.M. reporter Mark Sands and Richard McCarthy CBE, senior director of strategic services at Capita Plc. Event chairman Colin Stanbridge, commented: “It is clear that businesses, after the initial shock of the referendum, have demonstrated their resilience and underlying strengths, as demonstrated by the uptick in most indicators of London business performance.” Andrew Hawkins agreed that most indicators of business performance and confidence had been on an upward trajectory during the previous quarter, but emphasised that many of them remained in negative territory. Also, most indicators bounced back to similar levels as in the last poll before the referendum, following an overall decline in the previous quarter. Vicky Pryce added that the trends for the Capital 500 survey “pretty much echo the data for the economy as a whole. The economy has been doing better than expected as little has changed following the referendum, but growth has been unbalanced”. Indeed, the quarterly economic survey of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), which the LCCI results feed into, found that across the UK businesses had remained resilient, and that many firms were expecting continued growth in the months ahead. Based on the on the latest findings, LCCI listed four pressing policy needs: 1. The government should boost airport capacity by seeking best use of existing infrastructure through airfield, terminals and raillink enhancements in the London airports system. 2. The government should task the independent Migration Advisory Committee with maintaining a separate ‘Shortage Occupation List for London’ (as Scotland has) to access the skills and talent necessary to ensure the longterm sustainability of the capital’s economy. 3. London’s business rates could be ‘de-coupled’ from the national valuation system, whereby an increase in London’s rateable values would not inevitably lead to significant increases in business rates. 4. London will need greater powers to accommodate forecasted population growth. Retaining more London generated taxes and securing new competencies are key. Richard McCarthy stressed that action must now be taken, with the public and private sectors working together to restore confidence and boost the economy in 2017. Thomas Wagemaakers is senior policy researcher at LCCI The Capital 500 Q4 2016 launch panel. From left to right: Andrew Hawkins (ComRes), Mark Sands (City A.M.), Vicky Pryce (Cebr), Richard McCarthy CBE (Capita Plc). Responding to business Robert Halfon MP Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills heard the concerns of LCCI members on the apprenticeship scheme – and other labour-related issues – when he appeared at an LCCI policy breakfast at the Goring Hotel last month. Seen here (left) with LCCI chief executive Colin Stanbridge he briefed delegates on the government’s priorities for investment in training and careers advice and responding to businesses’ skills needs. ADVERTORIAL Tulips or Gold? In March 1637, a new investment class was all the rage as ‘tulip mania’ gripped the imagination of Western Europe. Investment in tulip bulbs was frantic, due to their novelty, rarity and profit potential, but the bubble quickly burst. One of the oldest asset classes is gold because its quality can be proven, tested and traded. Unlike tulips, gold has maintained its value through the centuries. Gold can range from simple share purchases to the very real gold bar. It’s internationally negotiable, VAT free and can be traded in an instant, yet why invest in it? It’s heavy, requires storage and can be stolen. Why invest in gold? • A weakening pound – as currency value declines, it can be a good way of hedging investment.  • Portfolio diversification - gold historically holds a negative correlation with other financial investments.
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London Business Matters
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