LREF 2016: The European economy would suffer without London at its heart, according to research from Deloitte – a warning against a British exit from the European Union.
When looking at the number of highly skilled jobs in the capital, the London total of 1.71m equalled those in Paris, Berlin, Frankfurt and Milan combined.
When compared with New York, the gap has grown: the number of London’s highly skilled jobs and businesses has risen, while New York’s has dropped.
“London, I would argue, is in a league of its own in terms of the skilled economy,” said Angus Knowles-Cutler, vice chairman and London office managing partner at Deloitte.
“It is by some measure the business capital, and most influential capital, of Europe, more than New York is compared to other US states.
“If a tsunami came up the Thames and wiped out London, the European economy would be in disarray.”
The Deloitte research also highlighted how dependent London’s highly-skilled economy is on immigration, with 95 nationalities represented in senior roles in the capital.
However, Tony Travers, a director at the London School of Economics, warned that London’s global position could be undermined by the city’s inability to “control its own destiny”.
He described the capital as “weak” in terms of its scope to command the resources it produces and called for a change in how the city is governed.
“All the major decisions about housing and transport, for example, are things made not by London politicians, but by the middle Britain voter, who has a very different set of expectations and desires.
“London couldn’t be less autonomous.”
However, Travers added he was positive about the city’s “infinite ability to adapt” to population growth and occupier demands.
The experts were speaking at the LREF session on the London economy this morning.