Hundreds of thousands of new jobs?

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Does George Iacobescu, chief exec of Canary Wharf Group, know something we don't?

According to The Times, Iacobescu is expanding the Canary Wharf empire via the addition of a new tower block in anticipation of the addition of 100,000 new jobs in the next 20 years.

The chief executive wasn't around, but John Garwood, secretary of Canary Wharf Group, says of the stats: "It's a question of creating more jobs and drawing jobs from elsewhere - London has become the pre-eminent financial centre in Europe and, in certain activities, the world."

Nor is Canary Wharf's growth expected to cannibalise jobs in the City - another 100,000 are expected there too.

The figures did not, in fact, originate with Canary Wharf Group, but came from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), a research consultancy given to issuing City jobs forecasts.

Jonathan Said, CEBR chief economist, concedes the numbers may be a little high - but says a hefty increase is likely as a result of 'clustering': "The financial services sector is one which clusters and will always locate close to the rest of the industry - that's been happening in London over the past few years and we expect the trend to continue."

What about the trend for operational roles to migrate to Scotland and Mumbai? "It's not City jobs that are moving out, but things like call centre jobs," Said says. "Traders, hedge funds and private equity funds are increasingly locating in London."

This being the rationale, Canary Wharf's new edifice looks set to stay empty. The average hedge fund employs a handful of traders and their support staff - that's one hell of a lot of start-ups.

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