Our five-year business proposal was launched at the first members’ insight event for the year: ‘An Economic Outlook for 2017: Global, UK and London Insights’ at which leading economists shared their views about how global, UK and London economies will fare in 2017.

Following our Chief Executive, Ros Morgan’s welcome, Councillor Tim Mitchell, Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate Services at Westminster City Council gave the keynote address to highlight Westminster’s agenda for the year ahead, including investment in the West End, business rates and employment – noting the importance of Heart of London as a key partner on critical business issues like these.

Cllr Tim Mitchell said: “Events such as these provide an invaluable opportunity to discuss the future of Westminster together with the local business community. Building on the good work achieved over the past 15 years, Heart of London Business Alliance has once again developed an ambitious business plan for the area, mirroring Westminster City Council’s priority to deliver a world-class West End. We will continue to work closely with Westminster’s Business Improvement Districts, and look forward to further strengthening the partnership between the council and Heart of London Business Alliance in the coming years.”

The panel discussion provided members with economic insights to help Heart of London business leaders best prepare for the challenging year ahead. Here are their top messages:

Andrew Lilico, Principal at Europe Economics: “Global growth has become stronger in recent months – perhaps the strongest in around five years – and 2017 may be stronger still. But this stronger growth will go together with rising inflation and rising interest rates internationally, led by the Fed. Firms need to begin to adjust from the world of recent years of low growth, low inflation and low financing costs to one of higher growth, higher inflation and higher financing costs. Not every firm will make the cut.”

Ed Birkin, Economic Adviser to the British Hospitality Association: “Companies need to resist the temptation to make short-sighted cuts in the face of near-term cost pressures, but rather focus on developing a medium to long term business strategy to overcome sustained, multi-year cost increases that will come about from continued hikes in the National Living Wage, business rates and input cost inflation.”

Scott Corfe, Director at the Centre for Economics and Business Research: “London undoubtedly faces major economic challenges over the coming years – from high housing costs to a more restrictive migration regime for bringing in skills from overseas. But the capital’s workforce, cultural offer and dynamic growth sectors mean there are still plenty of opportunities.”

Read more about Heart of London’s five-year plan and the launch of the proposal

Meet the panel:

James Ashton - Chairing the event, James is an experienced journalist and media consultant who has strong insight into the challenges and opportunities that face corporations in an interconnected world including the dangers of reputational risk.

Dr Andrew Lilico - Principal at Europe Economics, a Fellow of the Institute of Economic Affairs, Chairman of the IEA Monetary Policy Committee and was Chairman of Economists for Britain at Vote Leave during the EU referendum campaign.

Scott Corfe - Director at the Centre for Economics and Business Research and oversees its macroeconomic research programme. Scott was voted one of the top 3 forecasters of UK economic growth by Focus Economics in 2016.

Ed Birkin - Appointed as Economic Adviser to the British Hospitality Association in 2016, and is responsible for advising on how the Government’s economic policy affects the BHA’s members, as well as authoring a number of economic / statistical reports for the Association.