In the shadows of St Paul’s Cathedral in the historic heart of the City of London Cheapside has been an attractive area for shopping and hospitality for centuries. And it is open for business! At the end of September the Cheapside Business Alliance reported that out of the 288 shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs in the area, 207 (or 72%) were open. This is up from 66% at the start of September. Come and visit. Now it is more than ever important to support our local businesses where you can.
Together with my Ward colleagues Alderman Robert Hughes-Penney, Cllrs Alastair Moss and Nick Bensted-Smith, I’ve been around in the Square Mile – even when our work offices were closed.
As local elected representatives we have urged the City Corporation to support SMEs and tenants, and personally intervened to support SMEs in our Ward. It is important to remember SMEs make up about 40% of employment in the City.
The City Corporation has spoken out for the Square Mile. Saving lives and protecting the NHS remain paramount but that it needs to be done in a way that does not cripple the economy.
No doubt there will be further challenges ahead, but as The Economist recently concluded, cities remain invaluable as places where people can build networks and collaborate far more effectively than remotely.
I remain confident that the City of London will continue to play its role as a global hub for business, creativity and culture, and I hope that when we gradually return you will see what we have done to make the City safe, exciting and welcoming for all.