The Lord Mayor of London is embarking on a trip to the North of England today to spread awareness of the importance of financial and professional services across the cities of the Northern Powerhouse.
Lord Mountevans will also look at how the City of London can aid the development of new industries in the North, especially after the European Union referendum which showed that London’s population has significantly different views to the rest of England.
The Lord Mayor will visit Leeds on Thursday to discuss the Northern Powerhouse in the light of Brexit. He will then go to Sheffield on Friday to discuss investment into the city and to York on Saturday to visit Boxing Day flood areas with a focus on the insurance sector.
“The key thing for me is to listen and learn,” the Lord Mayor told the Yorkshire Post.
“There are some very important financial services and businesses in Yorkshire. There’s a complimentary nature between London and the Northern Powerhouse.”
Talking about the EU referendum, the Lord Mayor said he wants to find out what the requirements are of professional and financial services firms in the region.
“We want access to the single market and we want access to skilled European employees,” he said.
“Clearly there is a contradiction and this is something that will have to be explained. There will be negotiations. There is a realisation in Europe that they need our financial and professional skills.”
He said that he had been impressed by the changes that have taken place in the Government and said the trip will be looking at how financial services respond to the new issues.
“It’s essential we have a thriving economy in Yorkshire. The City has long been a provider of finance and there are also thriving local providers doing that,” he said.
“The new Prime Minister said we need a country that works for everyone. I see the regions featuring strongly in that. There’s a great awareness of these key cities.”
The trip to Leeds will kick off the Yorkshire part of the tour.
“Leeds is a great financial centre - 10 per cent of the people in Leeds are involved in financial services. These individuals produce about 20 per cent of the city’s financial output however, demonstrating the importance of this vital industry.
“Leeds has the biggest number of lawyers working outside of London. More than 68,000 people work in financial services in Leeds,” he said.
The Lord Mayor will also be visiting Vodafone to discuss smart cities as part of the Leeds trip.
“We are very well placed to advise citizens around the world on this. Leeds is a fin tech hub, which is a phenomenally successful sector in the UK,” he said.
The Lord Mayor said he has strong personal connections with Yorkshire as his wife was born in York.
“My eldest son and daughter-in-law live outside Otley and my wife’s grandmother was of good Quaker stock in York,” he said.