Finance chiefs hail BoE move to Leeds

The Bank of England's decision to relocate staff in London to a new northern hub to be created in Leeds should be a first step towards greater involvement in the UK's regions by financial services firms, according to the sector's trade body.

Illustration of the skyline of Leeds, England
TheCityUK said it had long been urging the industry's regulators to become more involved in the regions, not just to create jobs but to be a catalyst for greater industry involvement.Andrew Bailey, the Bank of England governor, announced a week ago that a new hub would be established in Leeds, saying the bank needed to expand its current focus concentrated in London and SE England.

"Levelling up": A new national infrastructure bank to be headquartered in Leeds, with an HM Treasury campus in Darlington

The move followed an announcement by Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak in March that a new national infrastructure bank would be headquartered in Leeds and that an HM Treasury campus would be created in Darlington as part of the government's 'levelling up' agenda.“Our mission at the Bank is to promote the good of the people of the United Kingdom by maintaining monetary and financial stability and to deliver that for the whole country," Mr Bailey said.“I made a commitment at my pre-appointment hearing before the Treasury select committee in March last year to look at how we can expand our staff presence across the UK beyond our existing agency network.”According to TheCityUK estimates, the financial and related professional services industry employed 38,605 people in Leeds in 2019, equivalent to 11.1% of total city employment, and accounted for £3.9 billion in GVA in 2018, or 14.8% of the city’s total economic output.It is not clear yet how many people will be employed by the BoE in the city nor how many London-based staff will be required to relocate north.

The move can help seed and support "flourishing local ecosystems"

Emma Reynolds, managing director of public affairs, policy and research at TheCityUK, said, "For our industry, the relationship with the regulator is one of the most important relationships. It’s essential that the regulator understands the business and its customers."This is why we have long called for a much greater regional presence from our key regulators, not just for the jobs they employ directly, but for the flourishing local ecosystems they can help to seed and support.“We hope this announcement foreshadows many more regionally focused policies and initiatives, with greater focus on developing specialist centres and sectors, a more competitive business environment and enhanced engagement between regulators and industry in all parts of the UK.”

Vote of confidence in Leeds and the wider Yorkshire and Humber region

Richard Little, TheCityUK City Chair for Leeds and KPMG’s regional financial services lead partner, said the Bank of England's decision represented a "huge" vote of confidence in Leeds and the wider Yorkshire and Humber region."It joins other key investments into the region which will add further fuel to the economic engine our industry is providing for local growth and job creation," he said."Financial and related professional services are of vital importance to cities across the region, employing a huge number of people in skilled roles, with opportunities for career progression across our region and the whole of the UK.”

Read more news and views from David Sapsted.

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