Over the next two weeks the world’s greatest athletes will compete here in London in the greatest show on earth.
Records will be broken.
New champions will be crowned.
History will be made.
But I believe the legacy of these Olympics can be about many more things as well as great sport…
…for instance, it can be about great business too.
At a time when it is global business partnerships, new investments and start-up ventures that will help get the world back to growth...
...nothing symbolises the opportunity of partnership and collaboration more than the Olympics.
And forging those partnerships and investments is why we are all here today.
So yes, I want medals for Britain.
And there will be no more passionate supporter of Team GB than me.
But I’ve got a job to do this Summer.
And a big part of that job is to get behind British business…
…and do everything I can to help secure the trade and investment that will help get the world back to sustained, global growth.
So I’m absolutely delighted to welcome you here to the British Business Embassy…
…for the biggest business summit any British government has ever hosted…
…and what is undoubtedly the biggest Olympic business summit in history.
At this Conference alone we have more than 200 business leaders from 36 countries…
…representing quite literally some of the greatest companies on the planet.
And this is just the beginning.
Over the next fortnight 4,000 business leaders will attend sector conferences on everything from Energy and Life Sciences to Aerospace, education and creative industries.
They will take part in country specific days on China and Brazil – the previous and the next hosts of the Olympics and two of the most exciting and fastest growing markets in the world.
And they will get stuck into venture capital events that will help to secure the vital resources needed to commercialise new inventions and start up exciting new businesses.
In order to make it in these difficult economic times…
…countries all around the world have to face up to some hard truths and take some difficult decisions.
The challenge is particularly great in our neighbourhood.
Since the financial crash the world economy has grown by 20 per cent.
But Europe’s hardly grown at all.
The countries that make it will be those that step up to meet the big long term challenges.
Getting your debts under control
Ensuring you have a welfare system that you can afford…
…and a pensions liability you can manage.
Building an education system that produces the best graduates in the world
Making your economy as competitive as it can be.
Ensuring your economy is linked up to the fastest growing parts of the world…
…and that your trade is delivering as many jobs as possible.
By meeting these key challenges, I am determined that Britain will be one of the great success stories.
So let me take some of these key points in turn.
The first thing you need as investors is confidence in the long term stability of the economy you are investing in.
You need to know that the public finances are under control.
And that your businesses aren’t suddenly going to be crippled by soaring interest rates.
The Coalition Government in Britain inherited the worst deficit since the Second World War.
But we have acted decisively to put in place a credible and steady plan to restore confidence in our public finances.
This has meant taking some tough decisions.
Increasing the state pension age.
Reforming public sector pensions to halve their cost.
Taking forward sweeping long-term reforms to welfare.
We’ve taken bold decisions to sort out our public finances and earn credibility with the markets.
As a result, in just two years we have already cut the deficit by over a quarter.
Our interest rates are less than 2 per cent.
And my message today is clear and unequivocal.
Be in no doubt: we will go on and finish the job.
We will deal with the deficit.
We will keep UK interest rates low.
And we will continue to take the tough decisions that are necessary for business leaders and investors to have confidence in the long term future of the British economy.
Getting our debt under control is absolutely essential for growth.
But fiscal discipline and growth are not alternatives.
You need one to get the other.
Sound finances alone are not sufficient.
If Britain is going to be a success, we need a competitive economy.
So we’re absolutely focused on doing everything possible to support enterprise and make Britain the best the best place in the world in which to start or grow a business.
We’ve listened to what business wants.
And we’re delivering it.
Business wants competitive tax rates…
…so we’re creating the most competitive corporate tax regime in the G20 and the lowest corporation tax rates in the G7.
Business wants us to simplify the planning system.
So companies can expand more easily and create the jobs that will drive growth.
We’ve done it - taking 1000 pages of regulation and reducing it to 52.
Business wants tax credits for Research and Development so they can develop the high end products that the future for countries like Britain.
They’ve got them.
They wanted a radical patent box so that if they develop patents in Britain and manufacture here they pay only a 10 per cent tax rate.
They've got that too...
…and GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca and international companies like Qualcomm have already announced new investments as a direct result of this.
We’ve listened to entrepreneurs too.
We are radically reducing the time it takes to start up a business...
…so instead of filling in endless forms...
…you can now get online, set up your business and register for taxes – and see the taxes that you’ve paid and that you owe – all in one place.
Last year despite the tough economic climate, the number of new business start-ups was one of the highest in our history.
We’ve created a 50% tax break for the first £150,000 invested in a start-up.
…and more than doubled the limit on the amount of tax deductable funds that can be invested in a single company in a year.
And in this Olympic year we’re making an extraordinary, unprecedented offer.
If you sell assets in this tax year and invest the proceeds in one of the businesses in our seed investment scheme…
…you will not pay a penny of capital gains tax on the assets that you’ve sold.
Not this year. Not next year. Not any year.
And that’s not all.
We’re supporting the rebalancing of our economy with bold new infrastructure investments.
In a world in which too much investment has been high risk and short term, there should be huge potential for a different approach.
With the Green Investment Bank we’re pioneering a new investment scheme to bring in private sector funds to make the most of our green infrastructure.
It’s the first scheme of its kind in any major country in the world.
And it starts with £3 billion of taxpayers money.
We’re making the biggest investment in our rail network since the Victorian era…
…retaining our status as key global hub for air travel…
…and expanding access to broadband - including through super connected cities…
…where city-wide access to ultra fast 80 megabit broadband will give Britain twenty of the fastest and best connected cities anywhere in the world.
And we’re sorting out our financial system...
…ensuring proper regulation by the Bank of England…
…with banks made to hold enough capital to keep them safe…
…and a regime so that if they do fail, they can do so without the taxpayer picking up the Bill.
We’re putting into law the ring-fencing of retail banking and its separation from investment banking…
…introducing the most transparent rules on pay and bonuses of any major financial centre in the world.
And we’re building on the Kay report earlier this week, promoting greater trust and confidence…
…by cultivating a change in corporate culture which focuses management teams and investors on the longer term and on sustainable value creation rather than merely short term profit chasing.
So we're making our economy more competitive.
We’re also taking a totally different approach to trade.
I went into the Foreign Office on Day one and I told them:
“Yes you are the Queen’s diplomats…
…but you’re also the sales force for Britain and for British industry.”
We’ve set an ambition of doubling our exports to £1 trillion by 2020.
That would match Germany’s record level of exports last year - and it’s absolutely achievable.
Britain is already now exporting more goods to rest of the world than to the EU.
If we could increase the number of small and medium sized firms in the UK that sell overseas from around a fifth to just over a quarter…
…we could add £30 billion to the UK economy, create 100,000 jobs and pretty much wipe out our trade deficit.
That’s the power of trade to drive growth. And it’s a similar story the world over.
That’s why I have made advancing trade such a personal priority.
At the G20 in Mexico I fought hard to advance a trade deal between the US and Europe…
…because when two continents that account for more than half the world’s GDP liberalise their trade, the benefits to growth will be felt right across the planet.
I discussed EU bilateral trade with the Brazilian President yesterday…
…and will do the same with the Russian President next week.
I will keep up the pressure on the EU to concluding new trade agreements with India, Canada and Singapore…
…and to launch trade negotiations with Japan.
I will continue to champion a free trade area in Africa which could play such a vital role in helping Africa to lift itself out of poverty.
And I will make trade a core priority when Britain hosts the G8 next year.
I know some people think it is somehow grubby to mix money and diplomacy.
But I simply don’t agree.
This is about jobs.
In the last year alone we’ve increased the number of British jobs created by trade and investment by a quarter.
That means nearly 150 jobs created or safeguarded every single day.
But for Britain to be a success, we need to do even better than that.
So I’m going to continue loading up planes with top businesspeople and taking them to the great markets of the world.
Already we’ve been to India, China, Russia, Turkey, South Africa, Nigeria, Mexico, Japan, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia.
And I’m delighted at the news today about one of the big deals we were pursuing when I was in Malaysia.
Battersea Power Station is one of the iconic landmarks in London.
Any Pink Floyd fans in the audience will know it from the cover of their album “Animals.”
It sits on almost 40 acres of land that is ripe for development, right by the River Thames.
It is quite simply one of the most exciting opportunities for investment anywhere in the Western world.
So we very much welcome the plans for an £8 billion development that will create 20,000 jobs during construction, with 13,000 permanent jobs at the end.
And yes, it will protect the famous towers too.
This all follows the announcement yesterday of a further £2 Billion investment into the UK energy sector by our long time partner Hutchinson Whampoa
And these are just the first in a long line of deals I hope we can do…
…with a further billion pounds of deals expected to be announced this summer, creating and safeguard thousands of jobs right across the UK.
I’m passionate about what Britain can offer.
A time-zone – where you can trade with Asia in the morning and America in the afternoon.
The English language.
The easiest access to the European market where 500 million consumers are generating 12 trillion euros in economic activity.
Some of the best universities in the world.
Britain has the products and services that you need.
Here in this room, we have British companies like WPP the world’s largest advertising agency…
… Vodafone, the world’s most international mobile phone company…
…and ARM, the British company based in Cambridge that provides technology used in 90% of smart phones.
There are British firms exporting tea to China, vodka to Poland and cheese to France.
There’s even a firm in Anglesey selling canoes to the eskimos.
This year Britain has become a net exporter of cars for the first time in 35 years.
With our highly skilled workforce and competitive economy, we are the best place in Europe in which to make cars.
Just ask GM, Honda, Nissan, Toyota…
…or indeed Jaguar Landrover who yesterday announced 1,100 new jobs in the West Midlands.
And it’s not just our car industry which is strong.
If you want modern medicines, then Britain has the world-leading pharmaceutical companies that make them.
If you want energy technology we are the home to some of the world’s leading energy companies, which are pioneers in exploring new frontiers and in green technology.
And if you want a holiday, then why not have your holiday here.
And while you’re at it, we can fly you to Britain on the wings of Airbus planes designed in Bristol, made in North Wales, and powered by Rolls Royce engines assembled in Derby.
This is a personal mission for me.
So I mean it when I say, if there are barriers in your way, tell me.
If there are things the British government can do to help, write to me.
If there’s an opportunity that we’re not seizing, call me.
My office, Stephen and all the team at UKTI will help.
And I will gladly speak personally with any of you who have a deal or an opportunity that will mean jobs and growth for Britain.
My message today is very simple: Britain is back open for business.
And we are committed to supporting global growth with open trade between our nations
So invest in Britain.
Partner with Britain.
Not just to invest in this country, but because this is the place, the hub, from which your company can grow and expand.
So make this Olympic year a great year for your business, here in Great Britain.