A message from Lord Spencer of Arlesford

Chairman - Centre for Policy Studies

Thank you for joining us at the Margaret Thatcher Conference. There couldn’t be a more important topic for us to be addressing – or a more important time for us to be addressing it.

The Centre for Policy Studies was set up by Keith Joseph and Margaret Thatcher almost 50 years ago because there was a sense that Britain was in a state of decline. That the economy had been leached of vigour and dynamism, and that we were all leading poorer lives as a result.

In many ways, our lives today are immeasurably better – thanks in large part to the policies advocated by the CPS. But getting growth rates up remains the great challenge of our age, not least after the hammer blows of the pandemic, the supply chain crunch and the energy crisis. I hope our discussions today help provide some of the answers we need.

A message from Chris Hayward

Policy Chairman - City of London Corporation

Welcome to the historic Guildhall in the heart of the City of London for the Margaret Thatcher conference. The City of London Corporation is delighted to once again be hosting this event in association with the Centre for Policy Studies. I hope that you’ll find the discussions stimulating, surroundings interesting, and leave energised to tackle the challenges ahead.

Foremost among these challenges facing our country is economic development and prosperity, hence the theme of this year’s conference: growth. 

Of course, recent economic conditions have been extremely challenging. Market instability, energy price inflation, and cost-of-living increases mean the United Kingdom, indeed most countries across the world, face a difficult winter ahead. Despite recent turmoil, our financial institutions and infrastructure have demonstrated their resilience, robustness, and commitment to long-term stability.

Today is a fantastic opportunity to discuss how our financial institutions, businesses, and policymakers alike can work together across financial services, trade, regulation, and more, to fuel economic growth. Ensuring we have sustainable growth will provide stability, security, and prosperity for this generation and the generations that follow.

Enjoy the conference.

A message from Ian Stuart

CEO - HSBC UK 

We are proud to support over 700,000 business customers across every part of the UK, from multi-nationals to sole traders. 

Despite the challenging economic outlook, I am always buoyed by the resilience, ambition, and ingenuity of the clients I meet. Many want to invest in their business, employ more staff, build the skill sets of the future and have access to capital, to support their ambition. One key ingredient for every business is confidence. For too many, a lack of confidence – whether in the economic outlook or their operating environment – is holding them back. 

The question facing the private and public sectors is; how can we come together to engender this confidence to help businesses thrive? Whether this is through the regulatory environment, economic policy, access to finance and talent, we know that we will only truly succeed in levelling up, if the challenge is shared. 

At HSBC UK we stand ready to play our part in welcoming international business and investment to all parts of the UK, while instilling confidence in our SMEs to grow at home and abroad. We know if we back British businesses, they in turn will drive the recovery across the country. 

That’s why we are proud to have launched three critical funds; a £15bn lending fund to support SMEs across the UK, as well as a £500m fund to help SMEs thrive in a low carbon economy. We have also launched a £250m growth lending fund, for high growth tech businesses, to support scale ups early in their growth journey.

While the issues we are facing are not new, the scale of the challenge is as great as at any time in recent memory. We all have a role to play, across the public and private sector to create the conditions and provide the oxygen to energise the economy. We look forward to playing our part.