City of London chief warns that breaking international law could risk investment

City of London Corporation policy chairwoman Catherine McGuinness
City of London Corporation policy chairwoman Catherine McGuinness - (Copyright PA Media)
12:43pm, Wed 16 Sep 2020
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The head of the City of London Corporation has said the Government must give investors the reassurance that ministers will not break international law to ensure future investment in the UK.

Catherine McGuinness, policy chairwoman of the business district, explained the current Brexit negotiations and the Government saying it may breach international law could prove problematic.

She told the PA news agency the admission has “given people pause for thought”. She added: “But the rule of law is the bedrock of our system and we undermine it at our peril.”

Her comments come as the corporation revealed a survey, taken before the latest Brexit comments from Downing Street, showed 99% are still keen on investing in the City.

The City is also suffering from the lack of workers, with ministers desperate to get staff back into offices, putting pressure on chief executives and chairmen and women to encourage workers into city centres.

Ms McGuinness said it was vital for staff to return, although she admitted that invoking confidence in staff will be key.

Autumn weather Sept 14th 2020 - (Copyright PA Wire)

She added: “These are challenging times and we’ve seen the ebb and flow of city life really disrupted by Covid. The city has shown its resilience and professional services firms are thriving with adapting to working from home. But we have a tale of two cities – with ancillary services like coffee shops and barbers suffering.

“We think it would be good to have more footfall in central London. They need to be brought back safely and follow guidelines, without forgetting the flexibility we’ve seen adopted.”

But, Ms McGuinness said face-to-face meetings were still vital for generating new business.

She said: “It (working remotely) works for existing relationships but it’s much harder for building new ones.

“It’s too early to say what things will look like in two or three years’ time. In the short term we’re not going to see full footfall back until the pandemic is well and truly over. When it comes to office footfall – that’s not going to go to what it was before, before then.”

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