London is the ‘best city in the world’ and will retain its competitive edge in a tougher global economy, said a panel of speakers at the opening of the London Stand at the MIPIM property conference in Cannes yesterday evening.

The event attended by more than 200 delegates was opened by Mary Reilly, chair of the London Development Agency (LDA), who said London had to ensure three critical elements to maintain its status as the world’s premier city namely: a successful economy; ensuring all Londoners are included within its development and evolution; and creating sustainable success and dealing with climate change.

She said the LDA would continue to support both the private sector and London Mayor Ken Livingstone’s plans for greater affordable housing and his enhanced powers to intervene in London developments.

Reilly added that improving transport and ensuring the smooth delivery of the Olympic Games was paramount for London and the private sector and government needed to work together.

British Land’s head of central London leasing Paul Burgess was extremely bullish about the London’s prospects.

He said the property community was creating some of the best new buildings in the world in London which would reinforce its status as the world’s financial capital.

He said from an occupational point of view the market was in for tougher times but it could withstand the challenge. ‘Decisions are taking longer and occupiers are definitely more cautious…but all the market fundamentals are still there and they are strong.

'There is a formidable occupational leasing market in the City of London at the moment,’ he said.

London First’s chief executive Jo Valentine closed the event with a stark warning that London had to retain its competitive edge and said the delivery of Crossrail was essential in that goal.

She said fighting against adverse tax changes that damaged London’s competitiveness was also key and slated the government’s proposals to tax ‘non-doms’.

‘We must treasure the golden goose, not kill it,’ she said. ‘We must also ensure it gets the trains it needs and the airports and flight routes it needs.’