Brexit Boom: Aerospace Industry Thriving, London Leaving Rival European Financial Centres in the Dust

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Much-revised ‘Project Fear’ predictions of an economic collapse following the Brexit vote look set to be pushed even further down the road, as Britain’s multi-billion pound aerospace industry breaks new records and studies show London is on course to continue outpacing rival financial centres Frankfurt and Paris.

Aircraft manufacturers have boosted the backlog of global orders to a record-breaking high of 13,589, reported to be worth some £220bn to the British aerospace industry.

Engine orders have also risen to a new high of 24,162; an increase of 2,000 on the previous year.

“The aerospace industry is experiencing strong and sustained growth, both in the UK and around the world,” said Paul Everitt, chief executive for industry body ADS.

“With 120,000 people employed in aerospace in the UK, and many more supported by the economic activity it generates, this industry is bringing prosperity to every part of the country.

“We have already achieved up to £13bn in economic benefit from deliveries in 2017, and look forward to completing what could be another record year for the global industry and for the UK.”

The good news comes at the same time as an Oxford Economics study indicates that London will continue to outgrow Continental financial centres, growing by 2.3 per cent annually between 2017 and 2021, compared with 1.5 per cent for Frankfurt and 1.6 per cent for Paris.

The capital is also continuing to attract significant foreign investment, with Hong Kong conglomerate LKK’s purchase of the famous ‘Walkie Talkie’ skyscraper for a record-breaking £1.3 billion announced last week — just months after Chinese property magnate Cheung Chung Kiu invested £1.15 billion in the nearby ‘Cheesegrater’.

HSBC finance director Iain Mackay said he expects the City of London to remain “the foremost financial centre of the world” in an interview with Bloomberg, and that his bank plans to continue to play a leading role in it.

“Within the UK we employ 42,000 employees,” he said, and indicated that only “up to” one thousand of these might be moved to Paris after Brexit.

Mackay’s interviewer quoted a businessman who had told Bloomberg that “The plumbing of the world’s finance is in London, and it’s a darned hard thing to get the whole thing to move,” asking “would you concur with that?”

“I think [he’s] exactly right,” answered Mackay. “You know, London is the foremost financial centre of the world; to, at the drop of a hat, try to recreate that really anywhere outside London … will be a massive undertaking [and] our view is that London will continue to be an important financial centre in a post-Brexit world; we at HSBC view it as part our role to try and lead in that regard.”

EU loyalists and Remain-supporting media outlets had been giving a great deal of prominence to speculation that London could be supplanted by Frankfurt, Paris, or Dublin as Europe’s premier financial centre after Brexit — despite the fact they rank well below London on the Global Financial Centres Index, in 23rd, 29th,and 33rd place, respectively.

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