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Daily Telegraph: London First members warn of coalition negotiation risks

London First members have warned politicians they risk undermining the UK’s national economic interests if they prioritise their parties’ “political needs” in order to win power in the expected post-election negotiations.

In a letter to the Telegraph, they urged politicians of all hues to ensure that the message from the next government is clear: Britain is open for business.

The letter was picked up by the Financial Times, here.


The letter and list of signatories in full:

SIR – If polls are to be believed, coalition negotiations could begin later this week. We are worried that the lure of government could see party political needs prioritised over Britain’s economic interests.

For growth and job creation, foreign talent and investors must know that Britain is open for business. Yet in four ways, we risk obscuring this message.

The first is access to global talent. It would be damaging if arbitrary targets discouraged skilled foreign workers and students from wanting to come to Britain. These people fill skills gaps, contribute to our success, and (contrary to the rhetoric) boost opportunities for British workers.

Secondly, uncertainty over Britain’s status in the European Union must be minimised, for it will lead to investment decisions being delayed or diverted abroad. Being at the heart of a modernised, more competitive and outward-looking single market is in the national interest.

Thirdly, policymakers considering a return to a 50p top rate, or property taxes that look like little more than wealth taxes, must recognise that high rates risk diminishing both growth and long-term revenues. Such policies send the wrong message about how Britain treats success and detract from tax stability.

Finally, runway capacity in the South-East continues to limit the ability of companies to trade with thriving cities, particularly in emerging economies. The recommendations of the Airports Commission must be implemented after decades of political inertia.

As coalition horse-trading begins, we urge politicians of all hues to recognise these concerns and ensure that the message from the next government is clear: Britain is open for business.

Declan Collier Chief Executive, London City Airport
Harold Paisner Senior Partner, Berwin Leighton Paisner
Bob Rothenberg Senior Partner, Blick Rothenberg LLP
David Sleath Chief Executive, SEGRO
Baroness Valentine Chief Executive, London First
Prof Michael Arthur President and Provost, UCL
Brian Bickell Chief Executive, Shaftesbury plc
Mark Bostock Director, Heathrow Hub
Phil Breeden Managing Partner for London, Rider Levett Bucknall UK
Jane Dancaster Managing Director, English UK London
Digby Flower UK CEO, Cushman & Wakefield LLP
Des Gunewardena CEO, D & D London
Tim Hancock Managing Director, Terence O’Rourke
Stephen Hubbard Chairman, CBRE
George Kessler Group Deputy Chairman, Kesslers International
Bill Moore Chief Executive, The Portman Estate
Mark Reynolds Chief Executive, Mace
Mathew Riley Managing Director, Infrastructure and Environment, EC Harris
Sue Rimmer Chief Executive, South Thames College
Henry Rowe Director, Royal HaskoningDHV
Russ Shaw Founder, Tech London Advocates
Inderneel Singh General Manager, May Fair Hotel
John Burns, personal capacity

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