The UK must remain in the Single Market to protect our vital financial services industry

 
Mark Boleat
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Many in the City may have wished to stay in the EU – but now it's time to come together to make this work (Source: Getty)

The City of London has thrived as a financial and trading centre for more than a thousand years and will continue to do so.

While there will be some uncertainty as Brexit negotiations begin, London remains the financial centre of one of the largest economies in the world, and indeed for most of Europe. There will be no mass exit of banks and financial institutions from the Square Mile, and we will encourage businesses to continue as usual.

Read more: The City will prosper in or out of the European Union

Ultimately this has been a democratic decision, and our task now is to respect the will of the British people and secure the best deal we can in the negotiations that will follow this vote.

Financial services contribute more than £65bn in taxes to the Treasury every year – 11 per cent of total government receipts – and City businesses I have consulted with believe they must be allowed access to the Single Market without discrimination to continue this success. This access to the Single Market will also be important in securing the 2.1m jobs in the UK – 7.2 per cent of workers – that are in the financial and professional services industries, areas where the UK leads the world.

The government should now engage in a period of consultation with businesses to ensure we can keep creating jobs both in London and throughout the country. No country has ever left the European Union, so there will be uncertainty associated with this process in the coming months. The government must do everything in its power to limit this uncertainty, and act swiftly to reassure businesses to halt any volatility and ensure continued investment in our country. If the government fails to provide proper arrangements for financial services, it risks damaging this vital industry.

Read more: Losing the EU financial services “passport” would be a disaster for the UK

Looking at financial regulation, we do not anticipate significant changes to the regulatory regime currently in place, as the UK has significantly influenced European financial regulation, and in some cases has stricter regulations in place.

There is a clear view in the City of London that our labour market must be kept flexible. European nations have provided much of the highly-skilled talent we need to succeed and this level of support to the British economy must continue.

Read more: Celebrate near record net migration: It's not an argument for Brexit

For our part, the City of London Corporation will continue to engage with both EU policy-makers, and our government, to continue to promote London as Europe’s international financial and business centre. We have the talent and infrastructure that has made London the world’s leading financial hub, and in spite of this vote these key ingredients for prolonged success remain in place.

All sides of this debate must now put aside their differences to do what is in the best interests of ensuring the UK remains influential on the international stage, and an attractive place to do business. The UK is a business-friendly country, with a favourable tax regime and proactive government support for innovation, and this attitude towards business must continue to ensure economic prosperity in the future.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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