Great Britain!

Confidence in London and in the UK as a whole continues to surge as we move closer toward our departure date from the European Union. I am convinced that our future is so much brighter as a free-trading global nation outside of the EU’s diminishing regional bloc.

Office rentals in London have jumped 14 per cent from last year, and are up 5 per cent on the rolling 10-year average. According to estate agent JLL, some 2.3 million sq. ft was let in central London in the three months to the end of March, with CBRE saying that they have had the strongest Q1 since 2012 and that they estimate some 9 million sq. ft of additional space is currently being sought in London. Not quite the “distinctly grey” future for the London office rental market that the FT was doom-mongering just last November…

And, in more good news for London, yet another survey has voted our great city as the world’s top financial centre! Whilst recent rankings by Z/Yen, the Global Power City Index, Lloyds Bank and others have had London retaining its position as the global leader, this poll of global senior finance professionals by advisory firm Duff & Phelps has voted London into first place for the first time since 2013. The firm’s global head of regulatory consulting, Monique Melis, has said that “London has a tried and tested legal system, very strong service providers and a very strong legal community that understands capital markets. People who operate in London understand how firms are liquidated, which is very important, and the merger and acquisition environment in London is much more benign and business-friendly than elsewhere in Europe.”

As I said during the Leave campaign, our economic future is incredibly bright. We are the world’s 5th biggest economy, the 8th biggest manufacturer; we speak the world’s international business language; we have the best contract law and one of the most trusted judicial systems in the world. We have the most creative and innovative financial services sector anywhere; we have three of the top ten universities in the world and the most powerful capital city on Earth.

We also heard from the Chairman and Chief Executive of the Channel Tunnel operator, Jacques Gounon, about his optimism over the Brexit negotiations, and that he would increase his previous estimate for the company’s annual earnings after 2022 by 5 per cent because of the agreement on a Brexit transition period last month that would avoid a cliff edge scenario when Britain leaves the EU.

Once again in contrast to the analysis put forward by the Treasury ahead of the referendum that 800,000 jobs would be lost in the first two years following a vote to leave the EU, the Bank of England has come out and said that the City will most likely lose fewer jobs before Britain leaves the EU than previously expected. Sam Woods, Deputy Director at the Bank, has said that the number of jobs created on the Continent will be “probably towards the lower end” of a spectrum from 5,000 to 10,000.

This follows the news that employment in the UK continues at a record high, with joblessness at a fresh 43-year low and wages rising in real terms for the first time in a year. There are more people in work than ever before – a massive 32.2 million – and earnings outstripping inflation.

And, during meetings that took place on the side-lines of CHOGM, it was fantastic news to hear from Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada that both countries are keen to maintain strong trade links with the UK after Brexit with the opportunity to further increase trade ties. Mr Trudeau said that, as the UK is Canada’s largest trading partner in Europe, he wants the current free trade deal through the EU to “flip over the day after Brexit.” Mr Modi vowed that India would become an even closer trading partner to Britain after Brexit, saying that “no dilution in the importance of the UK to India post-Brexit.”

So, #despiteBrexit, the UK continues to go from strength to strength, and the economic news keeps rolling in as more and more world leaders line up to support Britain as we leave the EU.