London mayor urges early decision on joining euro

Hundreds of millions of pounds of inward investment in London hinge on Britain joining the euro, London mayor Ken Livingstone said this week.

Speaking at the launch of the £13m Made in London campaign on Tuesday, he stressed the need for an early decision on the euro because of the vital importance of manufacturing exports to London’s economy.

‘There should be a quick decision after the next election on the euro. I don’t have the slightest doubt that manufacturing will benefit more than any other sector from the security of knowing that the bulk of our trade is protected from exchange rate fluctuations,’ he said.

The campaign, a relaunch of the London Manufacturing Group, founded five years ago with government support, brings together London business organisations including the London Chamber of Commerce, CBI London and the Engineering Employers’ Federation.

Livingstone said an economic strategy for the capital prepared by the London Development Agency would be presented to him in the next few days.

‘It is unrealistic to assume that an advanced economy can exist without manufacturing. While two-thirds of our manufactured goods are exported, we have yet to reach 20% in any of the main service sectors,’ he said. A city that relied solely on one sector of the economy would be terribly exposed, he added.

Referring to the importance of manufacturing exports Livingstone said: ‘I’m not suggesting we should join at the present rate, but to join at a realistic rate would give a major confidence boost to manufacturers and help secure hundreds of millions of pounds of inward investment.’

To kick off Made in London, Livingstone announced a grant of £6.3m. Matched by private cash it will provide a £13m campaign fund over the next four years. This will be targeted on North London and the Thames Gateway areas following a pilot run by the North London Manufacturers’ Group. The money will be used for training, improvement of run-down industrial estates, and promoting manufacturing careers.