We can be sure that more political and economic drama will unfold this year and into 2018. However, as London’s businesses prepare to face tomorrow’s challenges, we must learn a lesson from the past few months: despite all the doom-mongering, specifically surrounding Brexit and Article 50, commercial activity throughout the UK remained relatively buoyant compared to peer countries. Rather than cancelling projects or throwing their arms in the air, Brits have simply carried on enjoying life and working hard as they always had before.
At City A.M. we observed this sense of optimism, both from financial services firms in Canary Wharf and the Square Mile, but also among the range of companies, large and small, they serve across the economy. For London’s mid-sized firms, there is an even stronger sense of focus and drive for results whatever the political weather.
One in two founders and chief execs from the UK’s burgeoning tech sector recently told a survey they are positive about business for the year ahead – a huge jump from just eight per cent who said they were positive immediately after the EU referendum. Business owners and managers are understandably concerned about what Brexit may bring, but have not ground their activities to a halt as some predicted.
The economic climate is in fact increasingly sunny. Recent figures from Lloyds Bank show business activity in London growing at its fastest rate in 12 months – and much of that optimism is coming from the mid-market.
Of course politics and global uncertainties can affect business – a terrible government has the power to devastate a country’s economy in the blink of an eye – but the UK’s political and institutional strengths are more relevant than ever and continue to underpin our many innovative and thriving business sectors. London is at the heart of that stability and optimism – a global haven and a domestic tinderbox of ambitious management teams.
Economic data has defied expectations over the last six months and there’s no reason to believe it won’t do so again. For investors and management teams alike, there will be many exciting opportunities on the road ahead.