1 November 2022, London Marriott Hotel County Hall
21 November 2022, Hilton London Metropole
12 December 2022, etc.venues Monument, London
Research by Oxford Economics predicts a shift in the economic power and influence of ‘global cities’ over the next decade. The research institute studied the world’s 770 largest cities by population, forecasting their annual growth from 2015-30.
Director Anthony Horne was talking to delegates at the GTMC conference in London. He said African cities are leading the way in annual average growth for GDP – just under 5% – and employment. These are followed by the key cities in Asia, then the Middle East. Europe comes bottom of the chart.
This shift also appears in the top 50 cities by GDP: from 2014 to 2030, China is predicted to gain 5 new cities in that time, while Europe loses four.
A global map of urban industrial employment showed a general European decline while jobs grow almost every where else, particularly in regions such as Middle East, India and south-east Asia.
But Horne pointed out that London is bucking the European trend – and in terms of financial services jobs growth, London is the only ‘old world’ city in the top 20.
UK & Europe Also speaking at the conference were Iain Stewart, Conservative MP for Milton Keynes South and member of the Transport Committee, and Easyjet CEO Carolyn McCall.
Stewart said it is vital for the government post-Brexit to “signal confidence by investing in transport infrastructure projects”. Not just the major ones such as HS2 and Heathrow expansion, but also “smaller and medium sized projects to connect different parts of the country and internationally”.
Now is the time to invest for long-term returns, he said, with record lows for interest rates and borrowing costs. “And in doing so we will be correcting decades of under investment in infrastructure.”
Stewart changes to planning legislation in the last parliament have created “a more streamlined process” for Heathrow runway expansion: "If it works properly it should happen much more quickly than under the old planning system.” But he added: “I can’t promise a date for spades in the ground.”
Both Stewart and Easyjet’s McCall spoke about post-Brexit negotiations for air traffic access. Stewart said he was “confident that common-sense negotiations will happen.” He added: “I’m optimistic on that, it’s in the interests of Europe
But McCall struck a warning note. “Currently we have a very liberal and deregulated aviation agreement” she said. “We can freely across 28 states and so can everyone else. No-one really knows what's going to happen with that.
“I think [transport secretary] Chris Grayling is very pragmatic and does understand the issues. But, we've heard about Nissan and the car industry – but we haven't heard equivalent noises about aviation. And yet aviation is incredibly important to the economy and to people.”
McCall also mooted the possibility of Easyjet flying long-haul in the future. “Norwegian have done a lot on the long-haul low cost model,” she said. “I think they've had a lot of obstacles to overcome. They might actually prove there’s a model for this.”
She said the airline is fully focused on its short-haul business model and organic growth opportunities in Europe. “But who knows in eight years if Norwegian proves there is a business model, it's not inconceivable.”