Philip Hammond to tell Wall Street London can still be global financial hub despite Brexit

'I will do everything I can' to save the industry, Chancellor is to say, as he launches US charm offensive.

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The Independent Online

London will maintain its position as the leading global financial centre after Brexit, Chancellor Philip Hammond will tell Wall Street executives today. 

Making his first appearance in the US since taking the top job at the Treasury, Hammond will seek to assuage fears that the UK’s position at the centre of a multi-trillion pound industry is under threat after the decision to leave the European Union.

The Chancellor is due to address financial leaders in New York, including bosses of Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, ahead of Friday’s meeting of the International Monetary Fund in Washington DC.

“While the government has not finalised its future approach to our relations with the EU, the government’s position is clear; we want the best deal for trade in UK goods and services,” 

“I will do everything I can to ensure the City of London retains its position as the world’s leading international financial center,” Hammond said in a statement released by the Treasury. 

“One of Britain’s great strengths is the ability to offer and aggregate all of the services the global financial services industry needs.

“This has not changed as a result of the EU referendum result and I will do everything I can to ensure the City of London retains its position as the world’s leading international financial centre.”

Hammond is expected to say: “We will continue to welcome the best and brightest talent and organisations from around the world, including the US. While the Government has not finalised its future approach to our relations with the EU, the Government's position is clear, we want the best deal for trade in UK goods and services, including our world leading financial services industry.”

City bosses have expressed widespread concern that lack of access to the single market would severely damage the financial services industry. Many have expressed particular concern about the potential loss of “passporting” rights, which allow financial firms to trade unhindered across the 27 member states.

Yesterday, a City lobby group issued a report warning that a “hard Brexit”, where access to the single market is lost, would cost the industry £40 billion and result in the loss of up to 70,000 jobs.

The sector accounts for 12 per cent of UK economic output and 1.1 million jobs, but Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday that the industry would receive no “special treatment” in Brexit negotiations with Brussels.

Hopes of a “soft Brexit”, where the UK maintains access to the single market but implements curbs on immigration, appeared to be severely weakened after German chancellor, Angela Merkel, said that freedom of movement and free access to trade were “inextricably linked”.

“We only say in very general terms that full access to the single market is inextricably linked with acceptance of the four freedoms,” including freedom of movement, Merkel said. 

Granting exceptions on full access would “throw into question” the entire EU system and “lead to an extremely difficult situation."

Download a free Brexit action plan and investment ideas from Independent partner, Hargreaves Lansdown.

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