Belfast Telegraph

Hammond and Carney speeches off as Mansion House dinner axed after Grenfell fire

The annual Mansion House dinner that was due to feature speeches from Chancellor Philip Hammond and Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has been cancelled following the Grenfell Tower fire disaster.

Mr Hammond pulled out of speaking at the event earlier on Thursday, releasing a statement on Twitter saying that "in view of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, I have withdrawn from giving the Mansion House speech tonight".

"My thoughts are with the local community," he added.

The City of London Corporation confirmed shortly afterwards that the dinner would not go ahead.

A s pokesman for the corporation said: "In the light of the tragedy at Grenfell Tower, we are cancelling tonight's Mansion House Dinner.

"Our thoughts are focussed with the victims and their families and friends."

The death toll from the Grenfell Tower fire rose to 17 on Thursday, with Prime Minister Theresa May ordering a full public inquiry into the disaster.

The Chancellor was set to use his speech to reassure businesses they would still have access to investment funding from the European Investment Bank (EIB) after Brexit.

Current EIB lending to the UK is worth around 48 billion euro (£42 billion) and has supported projects such as new Intercity and London Underground trains and new tram networks in Manchester and Nottingham.

The Chancellor was expected to say that ministers are in discussion with the EIB to ensure UK projects can access its funds during the remaining period of Britain's EU membership.

He was also set to assure businesses that Britain's own financing schemes are ready to provide additional support.

That financial assistance would come from extending the limits of the British Business Bank's (BBB) venture capital investment programme and by bringing forward some of the £400 million in additional investment Mr Hammond announced in last year's Autumn Statement.

The Treasury confirmed that the Chancellor will address the issues earmarked for his Mansion House speech "at a suitable time in the near future".

The Bank of England also confirmed that Mr Carney's speech would "be given in due course".

The Mansion House dinner was set to feature a speech from the Lord Mayor of the City of London Andrew Parmley, which was to stress that a Brexit deal which ensures access to the EU single market is "vital" for City businesses.

Mr Parmley was also expected to emphasise the importance of immigration for UK business.