UK’s coalition leader quoted recent World Bank figures, which forecast South Asia to grow by over 6 per cent this year.
UK’s Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has attributed South Asia’s projected growth momentum this year to the “Modi dividend”, citing the Indian Prime Minister’s initiatives for boosting investment and jobs.
The UK’s coalition leader quoted recent World Bank figures, which forecast South Asia to grow by over 6 per cent this year, making it the second-fastest growing region in the world after East Asia and the Pacific region.
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“A huge amount of this momentum is being driven by what the World Bank calls the Modi dividend,” Clegg said in his address at the annual dinner event organised by the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Asian Business Association (ABA) here last evening.
“Prime Minister Modi has made boosting investment, jobs and growth a priority for his Government and, when I met with him in the summer, we discussed the critical role Britain could play in helping India realise its ambitions,” he added.
The Liberal Democrat leader also stressed on the important contribution made by Asian businesses to the British economy.
“There are an estimated 300,000 ethnic-minority led SMEs [small and medium enterprises] in the UK, contributing around 30 billion British Pounds to the UK economy every year.
“You are wealth creators in every sense of the word,” he said, adding, his party stands for an economy that is open to immigration.
“I have been clear about my concerns regarding the way in which the debates over immigration and Europe in this country are moving. There are critical issues to address… but, more than ever, responsible politicians and businesses need to defend Britain’s status as an open economy,” he said.
The ABA was set up in 1995 to provide a voice for London’s Asian origin business community, which brings in approximately 60 billion British Pounds to the UK economy every year and accounts for nearly 13 per cent of the city’s annual turnover.
“We with the London Chamber of Commerce will continue to campaign for a freeze, and gradual reduction, in air passenger duty (APD) to put us on a level playing field with our competitors and European partners,” said ABA chairman Vijay Goel, in reference to a surcharge on air passengers from the UK.
“As an island economy dependent on air links, the UK should encourage, rather than penalise activity like air travel that connects people and markets enabling greater trade,” he added.
The leading NRI lawyer also wowed to continue to campaign for a liberalised immigration policy to secure a “practical policy that facilitates the passage of the highly skilled workers that London needs”.
“In a similar vein, we will lobby for changes to the UK visa regime to ensure that genuine businessmen and women – the very life-blood of the capital’s economy – can swiftly enter the UK to do business without enduring bureaucratic delays in processing or lengthy queues upon arrival at London airports,” Goel said.