Key Priorities (Supplementary) [3]

Session date: 
January 13, 2010
Question By: 
Murad Qureshi
Organisation: 
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
Harvey McGrath (Chairman) and Peter Rogers (Chief Executive), LDA

Question

Harvey, can I bring you back to the beginning when you mentioned the LDA objectives and one of them being international promotion? It is interesting, over Christmas reading things like The Economist, it was suggesting that the developing countries have come out of the recession much better than anyone had expected and that this has profound consequences on the rest of the world, including London. Hearing that, I understand that we do not now have an office in Delhi or Bombay, one of the leading BRIC countries and one of the countries that we can expect to trade with in the future. I want to know how does the LDA intend to keep ahead of the game for London?

Supplementary To: 

Answer

Answer for Key Priorities (Supplementary) [3]

Answer for Key Priorities (Supplementary) [3]

Answered By: 
Harvey McGrath (Chairman) and Peter Rogers (Chief Executive), LDA

Harvey McGrath (Chairman, London Development Agency): I think the reality is that London needs to promote itself and it needs to cultivate foreign direct investment and it needs structure to do that. I think the reality has been, to date, that there has been a multiplicity of agencies which have each had a piece of this promotional pie either defined sectorally as in, for example, financial services, or nationally, in terms of the kinds of activities of UK Trade and Investment (UKTI).

So there has been an exercise which has looked at the - very confusing, by the way, to a foreign business who might be considering setting up a presence, for example, in London - to have in some cities in Asia, no less than five different representative offices of the UK government or local government, each promoting a picture and a part of the opportunity of relocating or locating in London. So there has clearly been a need for some sort of rationalisation of that and the changes that you have referred to are, I think, part of that programme.

In my view, London needs to compete for its part of that international pie and that means that we do have to proactively promote and encourage and attract inward investment and that does require representation or presence in the relevant countries. That may not mean an office, in a physical sense, in each of these cities but it means some form of virtual or actual presence on a frequent basis by people tasked with cultivating relationships and developing those into an investment.

Murad Qureshi (AM): Sorry, Harvey, that sounds like waffle to me. It is clear to me, when I come across Indian businessmen, you cannot depend on the old historical links. You are going to have to do a lot of promoting and I would like some written explanations of what is the strategy.

Can I move on to the next area? Over the Christmas period it was quite clear we are becoming more dependent on east Asian tourists coming here. Clearly the retail sales and what have you. One of the opportunities to promote London will be at the Shanghai Expo which begins in May, for seven months, to a whole layer of Chinese folk that may not have come across previous stuff on London. I just want to know about the LDA partners involved in this and also what due diligence are you doing to work with these partners?

Harvey McGrath (Chairman, London Development Agency): In terms of the Shanghai Expo?

Murad Qureshi (AM): Yes.

Harvey McGrath (Chairman, London Development Agency): Yes, there will be a London presence, and an LDA presence, at the Shanghai Expo which will showcase London and which will seek to do those things which you have just described. That is a committed action. The Expo runs for six months from May. It is likely, they think, to attract 70 million visitors. The majority of those will be Chinese but they hope that there will be a very substantial international visitor group that will flow through. So it is a significant opportunity to address that market and we will be positioning to do that.

Murad Qureshi (AM): Again, can I have a written response if possible to who are the LDA partners and the process that we are taking to --

Harvey McGrath (Chairman, London Development Agency): Sure.

Peter Rogers (Chief Executive, London Development Agency): We will certainly provide that and if you want to see what we are providing we would be happy to show you what we are providing. Peter Bishop and Lurene Joseph [Group Director of Communications and Marketing, LDA] are perfectly happy to come and present to any Assembly Members that want to see the proposition.

Murad Qureshi (AM): And the due diligence process.

Harvey McGrath (Chairman, London Development Agency): Yes.