The countdown to being ‘Brexit-ready’ begins

paper ship with british and european flag, concept shipment or free trade agreement and membership of eu, brexit

Jasmine Whitbread, CEO, London First


Today the Prime Minister has set the official Brexit process in motion by triggering Article 50. The clock is now ticking down to March 2019 when Britain will leave the European Union.

Over the next two years it is crucial that the government acts to get London and Britain in the best possible position for Brexit.                                                      

The first step will be to provide much-needed certainty by guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens in the UK, which London First has consistently called for. The Prime Minister has today told the European Council that we should aim to strike an early agreement on these rights, but it’s time for action, not intentions.  It is clear that continued access to talent – whether through UK skills development or migration – is businesses’ single highest priority. This is in the hands of our government.  

Now is the time to invest in infrastructure to demonstrate confidence in Britain, and tackle the issues which have long held back growth in our capital. Building more homes will address the housing crisis that is constraining London’s competitiveness, while a firm commitment to Crossrail 2 will boost business confidence and unlock development across the south east.

We will continue to campaign on these issues, amplifying the business voice. We’ll also be calling for further devolution to London and other city regions. While the government is negotiating with the EU on national policies, our local leaders can be making the right decisions for their regions.

To echo the words of Sadiq Khan in his Brussels speech just yesterday, and indeed our own mission statement: “London is, and will always remain the best place in the world to do business.” If the government takes the right action now, I’m confident this will remain true.



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World Para Athletics Championships 2017

This summer, for the first time in their history, the World Para Athletics and the IAAF World Championships will both be held in London. The London Stadium in Stratford will once again shine the spotlight on the best athletes in the world, welcoming back our Paralympic and Olympic athletes for their first homecoming since 2012.

To demonstrate your support of the Championships and to get your employees track-side for the action this summer, you can become a ‘Friend of World Para Athletics Championships London 2017’, and access a variety of tickets, hospitality and presentation opportunities.

To find out more, contact Sophia Warner,, or visit

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We prepare for Brexit Countdown

Earlier this month the European Union (notification of withdrawal) Bill was given Royal Assent, granting the Prime Minister the power to trigger Article 50 by the end of March. We now know that the countdown to the UK’s exit from the EU in 2019 will begin on Wednesday 29 March.

As the Bill progressed through both Houses, London First lobbied hard for the government to guarantee the rights of EU nationals already resident in the UK. Our chief executive, Jasmine Whitbread, brought the case directly to MPs and Peers, arguing that this would generate stability, certainty and goodwill for EU nationals, businesses, and our European partners. We will continue to call on the government to make these guarantees before formal negotiations begin.

In the coming months and years immigration and skills will stay at the top of London First’s agenda, and we will continue to be a thoughtful and fearless advocate for London business. It is crucial that the final Brexit deal allows access to the talent business needs from the UK and overseas. In conjunction with making the case for an evidence-based immigration system, we will be developing a business-led skills strategy for London, led by our Skills Commission which launched earlier this month.

While we call on the government to make the right choices on immigration, we will continue to make the case for further measures to put London and the rest of the UK in the best position for Brexit. This means investing in housing and other infrastructure such as Crossrail 2, which will unlock growth across the capital and bolster our competitiveness. Further devolution to London and other city regions around the country will allow local areas to make these investment decisions while the government is reshaping our national relationship with Europe and the rest of the world.

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Borough leader events

Our members have told us that having access to key decision makers is of great value to their businesses which is why London First holds a series of events throughout the year, linking members directly with prominent London borough leaders.

We deliver a series of breakfast meetings that enable members to hear directly from mayors and council leaders about plans to generate jobs and growth, upcoming planning and development projects and potential investment opportunities.

Leaders are given the opportunity to speak about how boroughs would like to work in partnership with the private sector to address the local challenges and opportunities.

This year so far we have held successful events with Mayor Philip Glanville of Hackney, Leader of Redbridge Council, Councillor Jas Athwal and Leader of Camden Council, Councillor Sarah Hayward, with several more events planned for the remainder of 2017.

We’ll continue to update members on the borough leader events programme and you can find out information on our wider events programme here.

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Advice for London business following Wednesday’s events at Westminster

Met police logo

Wednesday’s attack, in the heart of our capital, was terrible and all our thoughts are with the victims, their families and all the people caught up in what happened. While we are all undoubtedly shocked and saddened, now is the time for the business community to come together, share intelligence and stand strong in the face of such threats. We will be doing more over the weeks to come, working closely with the Mayor and the Metropolitan Police.

We received the following recommendations and updates during a call with the Metropolitan Police:

  • The threat alert level remains at the ‘severe’ status, as it was prior to the attack.
  • There has been a step up in police (armed and unarmed) across the country to reassure the public: the message is to be alert but not alarmed.
  • Businesses are encouraged to review their protective security and business continuity measures.
  • National Counter Terrorism Security Office has refreshed its latest guidance on recognising terrorist threats, which can be viewed at

London should and must continue to be vigilant. But we are a resilient city, we carry on and London remains open.

Please do contact London First’s Security and Resilience Network if we can help in any way.

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