Robert Hughes-Penney - Annual Report Launch speech 2022

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Robert Hughes-Penney, Alderman of the Ward of Cheap, thanked all who came to celebrate the CBA Annual Report launch for 2022. The work of the ward had been focused on building community among workers and businesses in the City. In collaboration with the CBA and the City of London, the ward will continue to work toward maximising efforts to support London's businesses and increase economic prosperity.

Good evening, fellow “Cheapsiders” and welcome to the CBA Annual Report Launch 2022.

I’m Robert Hughes-Penney, and it’s my privilege to be the Alderman for the Ward of Cheap; one of the leading business wards in the City of London. As your Alderman, I am in a position to use my experience to represent you, your business and interests.

A few of the main priorities for our Ward have included, building community and networks amongst workers and businesses. Indeed, I, my fellow Ward members and the Ward Club have partnered with the CBA to run a series of successful business breakfasts with the objective of building community. In addition, we seek to champion sustainable and responsible investment, and harnessing the City’s traditional expertise with its growing technology skills to create the world’s leading fintech hub. So, I very much look forward to meeting and working with you all in the future.

I’m delighted to be here tonight and at the outset, I’d like to thank the Cheapside Business Alliance Executive Team, for the invitation to speak this evening but most importantly to thank you for the great work you do in supporting us and the businesses we represent. And a thank you as well to Saddlers’ Hall for hosting this wonderful event in your magnificent Hall.

The City of London has never been a place that has stood still, and while its calling card for centuries has been its role as a business hub, it has always been able to adapt and respond to change. We are aware that what lies ahead is a period of uncertainty and difficulty with inflation, the rise in energy prices and the recovery from the pandemic encouraging workers and visitors returning to the city. However, we continue to remain positive and are confident that the CBA and City of London’s close collaboration can add maximum value in providing support to the business community and increasing economic prosperity once again.

The launch of the City Corporation’s new Destination City programme is expected to shift perceptions about the Square Mile, attract new audiences and ensure the city evolves to remain a world-class destination, aligning well with aspirations of CBA. The launch is due to take place on Saturday 15th of October 2022 and is expected to be an immensely impactful event, hugely benefiting the retail and hospitality sectors within CBA and an annual commitment of £2.5 million towards the project. The event will be inspired by the mythologies and hidden tales of the Square Mile, where the public will venture on a thrilling journey of discovery to tell the City’s story through creative theatre.

I’m proud that Cheapside is one of the longest-running BIDs in the City and continues to receive a significant amount of support from the City Corporation, which allows us to deliver great results for local businesses and the wider community. The two newest BIDs in the EC and Fleet Street Quarter area’s went live in April of this year, and we wish them every success too. And should the planned Culture Mile BID be successful when it goes to ballot shortly, these five BIDs will be generating an aggregate BID levy income of around £9 million per year, with this investment supporting projects and programmes identified by the local business communities as priorities.

So, thank you again for coming to the CBA Annual Report Launch – we are here to help you prosper and thrive.