I am busy preparing Labour’s possible responses to The Budget, which Chancellor Sajid Javid has announced is due to deliver on 11th March. I shall be challenging the Government on their suggestion that sectors of the British economy like car manufacturing are in decline anyway and nothing can be done to secure their future success. This defeatist and unimaginative attitude could prove deeply damaging to manufacturing communities. I want to see activity and innovation.

Over the Christmas period, I gave commentary on the appointment of Andrew Bailey, CEO of the Financial Conduct Authority, as Governor of the Bank of England, succeeding Mark Carney. Andrew Bailey has the experience to do the job and is an impressive communicator. He would have been near the top of my shortlist and most other people’s too. He will need to acknowledge there has been concern that the FCA hasn’t been proactive enough on some of the recent consumer scandals, and that there is growing debate over the effectiveness of UK financial regulation overall. But I wish him well. It’s now crucial that the FCA appoints a Chief Executive who is able to address what are very significant challenges for the UK’s regulatory regime. At the top of this is leading on a post-Brexit environment which will hopefully still provide for a degree of market access to the Single Market without the UK becoming a rule taker.

This week it was revealed that the financial services sector contributed more tax to the UK economy in 2019 than ever before – another indicator of just how key the health of the city and financial services across the UK are to the national economy.

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