Joel Muckett 11 Jan 2018 01:28pm

Morgan calls for post-Brexit finance sector blueprint

Treasury Select Committee chairwoman Nicky Morgan has criticised the government for its failure to publish a paper on the future of the financial sector and services after Brexit

Speaking to the Evening Standard, Morgan called for Brexit secretary David Davis to publish the “overdue” paper, adding that those within the sector were entitled to knowing how the government planned on safeguarding their futures.

The City of London, Law Society of England and business group London First backed the call for greater clarity.

Jasmine Whitbread, chief executive of London First, said the economy was “stuck between a rock and a hard Brexit” and warned of businesses leaving the City due to the lack of clear guidance.

“It’s time the government stopped its ministerial reshuffling and internal politicking and instead set out a coherent plan for continued market access and tariff free trade with Europe,” said Whitbread.

City of London Corporation policy chairman Catherine McGuinness said firms in the capital would find the lack of a position paper on the sector “baffling”.

“We have had papers for a wide range of other sectors and policy issues, but not for financial services. All this does is add more uncertainty,” said McGuinness.

“It is also frustrating when we consider the industry accounts for over 1.1 million jobs and £72bn in tax revenues.”

This was echoed by the The Law Society of England and Wales. “There has been much talk of a trade deal matching the one between Canada and the EU – CETA. But that would leave legal services, worth more than £28bn to the economy, high and dry,” said Law Society president Joe Egan.

“So we are urging the government to set out in more detail its ambitions for a deal that includes the services sector on which so much of our economy is based.”

Calls for the paper came ahead of Theresa May’s planned meeting with leaders from Britain’s financial sector, where the prime minister will meet with the likes of Barclays boss Jes Staley and Goldman Sachs International chief executive Richard Gnodde.

Chancellor Philip Hammond will also attend the meeting upon his return from Berlin, where he and Davis met with German business leaders.

In an article for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the pair said it made no sense for the two countries to put in place “unnecessary barriers” when it came to trading goods and services.

Last week, Hammond declined to rule out the UK remaining in a customs union with the EU post-Brexit.