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Lord Mayor to shape ‘tomorrow’s City today’

As the new Lord Mayor of London, Peter Estlin pledges to champion the world-class financial and professional services that are based in the UK, and ensure they remain at the forefront of the digital revolution.

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Lord Mayor Peter Estlin

January 2019

As the 691st Lord Mayor of the City of London, I follow a long continuum dating back to 1189 before Magna Carta. My focus over the next 12 months will be on how the City can help shape the UK’s future.

Today, the UK is at the forefront of a global revolution: the digital revolution. Big data, artificial intelligence, and quantum computing are transforming the way that we live and the way that businesses operate across the globe. That is why I am dedicating my mayoral programme to ‘Shaping Tomorrow’s City Today’.

This will centre on promoting innovation and technology, championing digital skills and addressing digital and social inclusion.

Firstly, we will promote the UK’s world-leading financial and professional services both domestically and overseas. This will include showcasing fast-growing sectors such as fintech and green finance, while also taking advantage of opportunities to promote digital innovations in other areas such as education as the boundaries between industries become ever-more blurred.

Secondly, we will champion digital skills to ensure that the UK has a sufficiently skilled workforce. It is vital that those not yet in work – as well as those in work – have the right skills to thrive in our increasingly digital economy.

Finally, we will push forward our work on digital and social inclusion. The speed of change means that several million people in this country are at risk of being ‘left behind’. The elderly, the poor and the disabled are particularly vulnerable to digital exclusion.

One part of the solution lies in partnerships between companies, colleges and communities to build a new model of digital citizenship. This should be designed to protect the vulnerable, enable equal access to online services, and enhance quality of life in the digital age for everyone.

Of course, it would be remiss to not mention Brexit when looking ahead to the next 12 months. It is important that we get this right for households and businesses on both sides of the Channel. Our focus is on trade, transition and continued access to talent. In the short-term, it is also essential that steps are taken to mitigate potential cliff-edge effects if there is a ‘no deal’ scenario.

That said, it is important to remember the world is not stopping for Brexit. It is vital, therefore, that we seize new opportunities to ensure the City remains a world leading international financial centre long after March 2019.

Peter Estlin is 691st Lord Mayor of the City of London. The Lord Mayor is an ICAEW Chartered Accountant and member of the London Society of Chartered Accountants.

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