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.