City policy chief lashes out over Brexit white paper


Looser trade ties with Europe will deliver a “real blow” to the UK’s financial and related professional services sector, says Catherine McGuinness.

Commenting on government’s Brexit white paper, which proposes a stronger partnership with the EU on goods over services, the City Corporation’s policy chairman warned of a country less able to create jobs, generate tax and support growth across the wider economy.

Services account for 80% of the UK economy, and Ms McGuinness said time was running out to strike a deal that protected the City’s status as the world’s financial hub.

“As the EU’s gateway to capital, the UK is a significant trading partner for the bloc. It’s in the interests of households and businesses on both sides of the Channel that an ambitious future trading relationship, covering services as well as goods, is secured.

“Failing to secure such a deal would put up unnecessary trade barriers and runs the risk of fragmentation of financial markets, increasing costs and reducing choice for consumers.

“Time is running out so it is essential that the pace of negotiations accelerates to ensure an orderly Brexit. Both sides should engage constructively to deliver a deep and comprehensive relationship covering services, not just goods, for the benefit of consumers and citizens across Europe.”