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From Thames Gateway to Gateway to Europe

Baroness Jo Valentine has today called for the opportunities in East London to be seized and built upon in the run-up to the 2012 Games to ensure the Olympics legacy is secured.

Speaking in a House of Lords debate on securing a worthwhile legacy for the London Olympics, Baroness Jo Valentine, Crossbench Peer and Chief Executive of London First, said:

“It was the promised legacy which persuaded the International Olympics Committee to pass the torch to London. There are many forms of legacy, but the Games will have succeeded if they transform people’s lives.”

Baroness Valentine argued for East London to be transformed into the next South Bank success story. She said:

“East London already has the potential to be a world class visitor destination; with a string of venues already there or planned, including the O2 – the world’s most popular entertainment venue, the exhibition centre at ExCeL, the aquarium at Silvertown, the Olympic swimming pool, the velodrome and the Lea Valley park. The South Bank has seen extraordinary change in the past decade. Why not the same for East London in the next?”

She also pressed for links from East London to European business centres such as Paris to be exploited. She said:

“It has superb access to markets, with one of the most important world financial centres on its doorstep, together with its European links via City Airport and the Channel Tunnel station at Stratford. And of course Crossrail will add further links. East London could aspire to be a quartier for French headquarters in Britain; East 15 becomes the 15th arrondissement! But however it defines itself it has built in advantages as a business location.”

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Notes to Editors
Crossbench Peer Baroness Jo Valentine was speaking today (Thursday 17 January) in the House of Lords debate on building sustainable communities and securing a worthwhile legacy for the London Olympics. Baroness Valentine is Chief Executive of business organisation London First. Full speech

London First is a business membership organisation whose mission is to make London the best city in the world in which to do business. London First undertakes this by mobilising the experience, expertise and enthusiasm of the private sector to develop practical solutions to the challenges facing London. London First also seeks to persuade central and London government to make the investments that London needs in its infrastructure.

London First delivers its activities with the support of 300 of the capital’s major businesses in key sectors such as finance, professional services, property, ICT, creative industries, hospitality and retail. Membership also includes all of London’s higher education institutions as well as further education colleges and NHS hospital trusts. London First members represent 26% of London’s GDP.

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