Remarks at the EC Partnership BID Launch November 2021

Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen, 

I am delighted to join you this evening at this long planned and anticipated event

to confirm that you have the City Corporation’s enthusiastic backing for your

forward thinking and ambitious blueprint for this very important part of the City.

Having signalled very strong policy support for the formation of BIDs in the

square Mile it is hugely encouraging to see a number coming forward,

most recently yourselves and Fleet Street Quarter, building on the success of Cheapside and Aldgate Connect. A partnership has also been established for the Culture Mile which is targeting a ballot date of early 2023.   

So by April 2023, subject to successful ballot outcomes, there could be a family of five BIDs operating across the Square Mile, generating an aggregate BID levy income of around £7 million per annum for investment in local partnership priorities. 

This represents a significant investment from private sector partners in delivering against their priorities within our wider ambitious vision for the future City, ushering in a new era of public-private partnership for the common good.

And when I look across the City there are many reasons to be optimistic about the future.

Occupier confidence is strong - over a million sq feet of take-up in the third quarter this year, the highest since first quarter of 2020. An outstanding number.

Eye-catching new big name City occupiers; Digital Realty; Mondrian Limited and Alliance Bernstein (enticed over from Mayfair), All taking over 100,000 sq feet.

2.3m sq feet currently under offer which is a 117% increase on January 2021. Again an outstanding statistic.

Current City vacancy rate of 8% and projected to be close to 5% by 2025.  

4.3 million sq feet of office development under construction completing between now and 2025, of which 40% has already been pre-let.

And we also have an unprecedented number of major schemes coming through the planning system, having permissioned 9 new tall buildings this year to date.

This all demonstrates strong investor confidence in the City going forward.

Let me be clear we very much anticipate, and are planning for, strong growth in the coming years. 

We need to do more to deliver a broader economic base, socially inclusive and green growth, and a vibrant culture in the Square Mile. 

Principal amongst our shared goals is tackling climate change.

We published our own Climate Action Strategy in October last year which breaks new ground and sets out how the City Corporation will work with the City to achieve net zero, build climate resilience and champion sustainable growth, both in the UK and globally. 

We are urging all City organisations – civic community and business – to join us in looking at how you can reduce your carbon footprint to net zero by 2040 or before. 

We must work together to ensure that London and the UK are at the forefront of the fight against climate change.

We have introduced a specific programme for small businesses which will be delivered by Heart of the City providing small businesses with expert guidance from sustainability and climate change professionals and specially designed climate change resources.

May I recognise and congratulate you Andrew and your board, particularly, on your ESG commitments and your commitment to taking action.

The pandemic has changed much and accelerated many trends and been a catalyst for rapid change.  

Progressive partnership is in our DNA, we thrive on collaboration, sharing ideas, innovation and success. 

BIDs provide a tried and tested model for sustainable growth and improvement linked tightly to local needs, and we warmly welcome and whole heartedly support the proposal for a BID in the Eastern City area. 

The City is often recognised as the engine room of the UK economy with a dynamic service base and built environment to match. The Eastern City’s significant growth in recent years is evident from its cluster of new, tall buildings, and it will experience further growth in the future.

It is clear that you will be well placed to foster growth and enterprise in the emerging green finance sector, encouraging new ideas, facilitating greater collaboration, and sharing success. 

The City is bouncing back strongly again and through all our collective efforts it will be a better City.  More enlightened, more welcoming, more socially and economically inclusive, celebrating diversity, clean and green, more sustainable with a richer economic base combining the City’s principal business function with culture, retail, F&B, with more visitors and a dynamic vibrancy.

Hybrid working is not just a challenge but an opportunity to redefine and improve the City not only in attracting workers back but as a vibrant destination of choice for all.

I have always viewed BIDs as localism in action and as a democratic force for good. I strongly encourage you to support the ballot and to engage with the City Corporation which you will find is a very willing active partner in the years ahead.