Lord mayor of London Ian Luder said the empty rates tax was harming London and would damage its attractiveness as a global financial centre.

He was speaking at an event hosted by CB Richard Ellis which discussed how to restore and maintain London’s reputation as the world’s top financial centre.

Luder said: 'The issues facing the City today include the empty property rates tax, which I think now everyone agrees was introduced at the wrong time and the Crossrail surcharge which we think should have a wider catchment area and be broadened out to include retail, leisure and even residential property developments.

'It has been a challenging year for the City, but I believe it can maintain its premier league status because of the size and diversity of the London offering.'

As head of the City of London Corporation, which provides business and local government services to the City, the Lord mayor of London's principal role today is as an ambassador for all UK-based financial and professional services.

David Higgins, chief executive of the Olympic Delivery Authority, who was also speaking updated the audience on the development of the Olympic Village.

He said construction was set to start on the aquatic centre this week and all works were on schedule, with the Westfield Stratford shopping centre set to open early 2011.

Other guests at the breakfast included City of London sheriff George Gillon and CBRE’s UK managing director Martin Samworth.