London's multi-billion pound fintech sector is being urged by the City of London Corporation to speak up in favour of Britain staying in the European Union.
In a speech to be delivered on Monday, the Corporation's policy chairman Mark Boleat will say: “It is far better to have ‘entrepreneurs for Europe’ than ‘bankers for Brussels’ as a tagline.”
“Everything I hear from the tech industry supports Britain remaining in the EU. The industry needs to engage actively in the debate. Successful entrepreneurs in rapidly growing industries are among the voices that will be listened to.”
Boleat will speak in front of more than a thousand of the world’s top fintech players in London at the Innovate Finance Global Summit. A newly released poll by Innovate Finance, shared with City A.M., reveals that 82 per cent of fintech startups want Britain to stay in the EU.
According to figures from EY, Britain's fintech sector employs over 61,000 people, is valued at over £20bn and has generated over £6.6bn in revenue. It is also a magnet for inward investment, bringing £524m into the UK last year. Earlier this week, the dominance of London’s fintech scene was identified as one of main factors behind London retaining its position at the top of the Global Financial Centres Index.
The Corporation, which governs the Square Mile and supports the UK remaining in Europe, irked a number of its members earlier this year by voting to campaign for continued EU membership rather than remaining neutral.
The City chief will also use Monday's speech to address the growing skills gap and hit out at the UK's visa system.
“We need to double our fintech workforce by 2020, ensuring those entering the workplace by then are equipped with both the right skills, and the opportunities to develop those skills in this sector.
“We must also ensure that the global talent pool for fintech remains open for UK businesses to draw upon, to help us in expanding our UK-based workforce. The current visa regime is capable of significant improvement in this respect.”
Boleat's intervention comes as a new report warns that Brexit fears are starting to hit the jobs market. The number of businesses taking on permanent staff in March 2016 grew at its slowest pace since last summer, according to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, while the use of temporary staff shot up in a sign that businesses are holding back on filling full-time roles until after the referendum.
However, Matthew Elliott, chief executive of Vote Leave said: “The Office for Budget Responsibility has said there is no sign of uncertainty in the run-up to the referendum.”