Arrival of Channel 4 and growth of medtech sector is ‘exciting proposition’ for Leeds, says Lord Mayor of City of London

THE LORD Mayor of the City of London has predicted that Channel 4’s arrival in Leeds combined with the growth of the region’s medical technology sector will provide an “exciting proposition” for investors.

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How Yorkshire Building Society learned lessons of the crashPeter Estlin, who is the 691st Lord Mayor of the City of London, made his comments during a trip to Leeds to meet leading figures from the financial services sector.

Peter Estlin,the Lord Mayor of the City of London was in Leeds to speak to business leaders at Yorkshire Building Society Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe

He attended a roundtable discussion with leaders from the technology and financial services sector at Yorkshire Building Society’s offices in Leeds.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Estlin said he had been impressed to hear about the expansion of the health technology sector in the region.

He said the Leeds City Region also had a large population of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) graduates who must be encouraged to stay in the region.

He added: “So the more incubation that’s taking place, the more investment that’s going into that innovation, the more that creates a self-fulfilling fuel of growth.

Peter Estlin Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe

“That said, financial services itself is changing. We need to be investing in that technology and seeing where it’s going to go.

He added: “London is regarded as a global financial capital. That capital needs to find homes and by promoting the Leeds City Region, by promoting Manchester, by promoting Edinburgh. and the key cities in

the UK, that is a way we can encourage that capital to move to investable areas.”

Mr Estlin said that most people working in financial services are based outside London.

“If we look at fintech, at the moment 75 per cent of fintech is in London, that’s 80,000 people,”, he added.

“If you look at (the fact that) two thirds of financial services is outside of London, the capability to digitise and transform that population of resource outside of London is huge.

“That is where the scale of opportunity is from my perspective. If we want to see UK plc grow and in financial services, that is where the opportunity is - it’s going to be in Leeds, Edinburgh, Glasgow,

Manchester and Bristol.

“Yes, there will be some in London, but that is where the huge growth is going to come from.”

Mr Estlin said he had been inspired to hear about the scale of growth that is expected to take place around the health sector with the creation of around 4,000 jobs predicted in the city region.

He said that the City was looking to the new Prime Minister Boris Johhson to provide a “resolution to Brexit, (because) that uncertainty is damaging.”

“We’ve laid out from a business community what we think that pathway is.”

He said the Government needed to engage with local communities to deliver polices that aimed to protect the environment and provide a boost for industry and the digital sector.

He added: “The solutions will come from the business community and (it is) the local community who will make that happen.”

Mr Estlin also said it was important that no sections of society were left behind by the digital revolution.

He said: “Whether it’s pure financial services or the wider industry as a whole, we have a responsibility as we digitise more and more of our industries to take people with us. We are at risk at the

moment..of creating a society where we have potentially, through a lack of clarity, ended up with digitally excluded communities.

“And that is not healthy. And that in itself will lead to more distrust.

“In practice we have got more work to do collectively. There are some great examples of what is being done but we need to do it on steroids.”

Mr Estlin said that there were many similarities between the City of London and the major Northern cities.

He added: “Leeds and Manchester are no different to London. They are communities of people who, at the end of the day, are looking to create economic activity in order to support their communities.

“In the complex world we live in now, we need to collaborate to do that. We need to share best practice and share examples. And if London has access to capital, how we share that would be one measure of

success.

“I’m sure I will continue to visit on a regular basis because it is a key part of financial services.”