Nick Anstee: London's strength is its openness. Curbs on migration don't help

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The Independent Online

We must ensure that our international financial institutions, such as the IMF and World Bank, are robust and flexible. They are, after all, the principal agents to make a reality of the commitments made at the Pittsburgh conference late last year. I believe, however, that they should have sharper tools to perform their task, to preserve and expand an open, balanced and sustainable international economy that creates prosperity for all. Let's co-ordinate these actions. Unilateral activity from whatever source, such as declaring a levy on banks, and limiting capital flows in fund management, are unhelpful unless they are set in the context of – and consistent with – the G20 initiative.

The pace of G20 implementation can appear slow. But if the EU moves alone, it will be placing not only the UK's international competitiveness and future prosperity at risk, but the whole of Europe's as well. Two weeks ago in Guildhall, Michel Barnier made it perfectly clear that he understands this important point. Let us hope his actions, together with those of other leaders, speak as loudly as his words.

There is another vital area where London is prepared to take a lead. And that is in demonstrating to the world the commercial value of transparency, trust and integrity. These virtues have been the hallmark of London for centuries. They provide the oil which lubricates the wheels of effective commerce. And this is why we applaud and support our trading partners who share this approach. open markets and skills.

Accordingly, we are committed to help provide the commercial world with the skilled people necessary to usher in a better future. As I speak, hundreds of thousands of people all over the world are striving to obtain British training and qualifications, not least through distance learning, because a British qualification is a global qualification. And all of us must guard against any attempt to block skilled immigration or access to the global talent pool. Capital can move very easily. So can talent. For our part, we will always champion an immigration policy which favours and welcomes your skilled citizens to spend some of their careers here in London. Just imagine the benefits which will accrue when they return home.

This is an extract from a speech given by the Lord Mayor of London to the Mansion House Easter Banquet on Wednesday