Keeping our capital working for the UK

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A fortnight of action on Brexit priorities

As the clock continues to count down to March 2019, we have been busy setting out our stall on what business needs from government to keep London, and the UK, competitive. Last week, we presented what the capital’s employers want to see from the UK’s post-Brexit immigration approach.

The proposal follows input from over 200 of London’s employers and sets out three key routes into the UK post-Brexit; a minimum salary threshold, identified shortage skills and exceptional talent, with a 2019 cut-off date for EU citizens. Combined with an effective system that reduces unnecessary administrative costs, alongside the robust checks and balances the UK needs to restore public confidence in immigration, this new approach could deliver a fair immigration system that works for the UK.

Our proposal was featured in the Financial Times, with support from The Berkley Group, Mace, The May Fair Hotel, Make Architects and Optimity. We are in discussions with government, and have briefed the Lords ahead of next week’s debate on the EU select committee report.

In the FT Jasmine Whitbread said: “Continued access to the people our economy needs is the number one concern for business. The PM’s reassurance for EU citizens already working here is a welcome first step, but it’s taken a year to get this far and we still have a long way to go. Government has said it wants business input and this is the first test of that commitment. Business leaders across all sectors have worked together to jointly propose a realistic way forward that will manage immigration while ensuring our economy can continue to grow. We are looking forward to the government’s response.”

This week, we also joined an alliance of Londoners, with a letter to David Davis, calling government to rethink its stand on the single market and freedom of movement. The Centre for London’s letter was also signed by key London representatives including Lord Adonis, Sadiq Khan and Cllr Claire Kober.

And it does seem that government is now willing to listen. In a positive step from government, business leaders met with David Davis last week at Chevening House. Talent was the number one discussion point and insights we’ve gathered from the session suggest it was a productive, collaborative meeting. Attendees left hopeful of further opportunities for business to feed into the finer details of Brexit negotiations, including shaping the terms of a future transitional agreement. Thankfully, there was no mention of a net migration target.

London First will continue to campaign on behalf of members to keep London the best city in the world to do business: access to talent, the right deal on the single market and, importantly, the investment in the housing, transport and infrastructure this city needs.

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