An open letter from the FinTech Capital of the North

Dear Chancellor

I am delighted to see you “banging the drum” for the UK’s important and fast growing technology sector as you lead a delegation to India.

Last year the Leeds City Region organised a delegation to Bangalore – as part of the Government’s GREAT UK Challenge Fund initiative, to raise awareness of the important role of the technology sector within our economy, the largest City Region economy outside of London.

During our delegation’s visit it was fantastic to see the response from Indian businesses to our proposition as a primed destination for technology businesses to grow and I’m pleased to see the Government’s continued commitment to the FinTech industry, particularly as we are considered to be the FinTech Capital of the North, a title in which we as a City Region take great pride.Our strengths within this key field is a result of the City Region being home to a large number of companies, such as Contis, WorldPay and Nostrum Group, which are pioneering innovative FinTech developments. In TechNorth’s recent report into the North’s fastest growing 100 tech firms, I was pleased to see that almost a quarter of these businesses (23%) located in our City Region, and particularly that Leeds based FinTech firm PanIntelligence had reported a 52% growth.

In addition to our strong business base Leeds City Region also has several leading universities producing a pipeline of high-quality graduates in the field including under and post graduate courses in Digital Forensics and Security at Leeds Beckett University and a GCHQ accredited MSc in Cyber Security at the University of York. In fact as a region we are bucking the so-called north to south ‘brain drain‘ and seeing a trend towards north-shoring, with both talent and companies leaving London to locate to our Region, in order to capitalise on the largest concentration of STEM graduates in the UK, cheaper costs and a first-rate quality of life.

Once again I’d like to wish you every success on this delegation to build trade links beyond the European Union, and I would ask you to highlight during your meetings the strength of the UK’s regions and in particular our strength as the FinTech Capital of the North. I would also welcome the opportunity to discuss with you directly how Leeds City Region can work with HM Government to sell the strengths of the North as we look to build new trade relationships in a post-Brexit Britain.

Kind regards

Roger Marsh OBE
Chair, Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP)