London’s Olympic summer will help generate more than £1bn worth of deals and projects, prime minister David Cameron believes.
Cameron appealed for international investment in the British economy on the day before the Olympic Games officially open in the capital, as the nation looks to rise up from a protracted double-dip recession.
The prime minister declared “Britain is back open for business” as he addressed the first of a series of trade summits to be held during the Games.
“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,” Cameron said.
“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.”
More than 4,000 business leaders and politicians are reported to be in London for the series of meetings, including executives from global giants such as HSBC and Google.
The government hopes a further £13bn worth of deals can be generated over the next two or three years to come.
Cameron was speaking at Lancaster House in Central London, which will act as the British Business Embassy during the Games.
British Chambers of Commerce director general John Longworth described the Olympics as a “fantastic opportunity to showcase the best of Britain” and to make clear Britain was set to trade with the world.
Longworth said: “We believe the Olympics will provide a timely confidence boost for businesses, particularly in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, and for the UK economy as a whole.
“The ‘feel-good factor’ surrounding the Games is especially critical in the wake of the very poor GDP statistics released earlier in the week.”
But Longworth said it would be a mistake to believe the Olympics would automatically act as a cure for the UK’s ailing economy.
He said: “We cannot be complacent and assume that the Olympics will be positive for all companies. There is a chance that productivity could suffer as a result of congested transport networks, staffing disruptions, plus delays and cancellations to key deliveries.
“Olympic organisers and government ministers must stay in close contact with business to minimise disruptions, and ensure that the Games are more of a help than a hindrance to the UK economy.”