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UK economy benefits from entent cordiale

Baroness Jo Valentine, Chief Executive of London First, the influential business organisation representing over 300 of the capital’s leading companies, spoke today in the House of Lords debate on UK competitiveness.

Baroness Valentine (Crossbencher) said that there were already signs that other regions of the UK were ready to work with London in attracting overseas investment rather than the sometimes bitter competition which has characterized past campaigns.

She described the new relationship as “an emerging entente cordiale”:

“We must focus on the importance of ‘Team UK’ in competing globally. London competes for business with other world cities and once won, a London HQ can help Manchester or Edinburgh win secondary offices versus European competitors. A successful London is more a source of opportunity for other UK cities than a threat.

“But, to maintain this investment into the UK, we must invest in its strengths. If London doesn’t receive the investment it needs in transport infrastructure and job-related skills training, it will be Team UK that suffers.“

Case study: Google search for UK offices

Google originally entered the UK in September 2001, setting up in London, following which they have expanded this operation. They now employ circa 500 people in London. In addition, they have since opened up a sales office in Manchester and have project staff located in various UK centres, including for instance their project to scan the Oxford’s Bodleian Library.

For further information, please contact Graham Capper on 020 7665 1505 / 07983 611 227 or Lauren Preteceille 020 7665 1471 / 07977 297 811

Notes to editors:

London First is a business membership group whose aim is to improve and promote London with the objective of ensuring that London maintains and enhances its position as a leading world city. London First mobilises the experience, expertise and enthusiasm of the private sector to develop practical solutions to the challenges facing London and lobbies central and London government for the investment 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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