Brexit vote reminds us of existing concerns

 
Christian May
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EU Referendum - Signage And Symbols
It's still too far too soon to settle on an accurate picture of Britain's post-referendum economic landscape (Source: Getty)

The full consequences of the UK's vote to leave the European Union are not yet known. Advocates of a painless Brexit can point to data that refutes the worst fears put about by a panicking Remain campaign.

But those looking for evidence to demonstrate that those fears weren't baseless have plenty to go on, too. In other words, it's still too far too soon to settle on an accurate picture of Britain's post-referendum long-term economic landscape. What we can do, however, is remind ourselves of the problems that existed before the vote and agree that the referendum result has brought them into sharp focus.

That's exactly what industry group TheCityUK has done with its latest publication, analysing the challenges and opportunities facing the UK's financial and related professional services. This is a sector that employs over two million people and accounts for 12 per cent of the UK's economic output. It's the UK's biggest single generator of tax revenues and supports a workforce that stretches across the country.

Read more: Bremainer and Brexiteer team up to bolster British businesses

TheCityUK's chairman, John McFarlane, says the report focuses “on the structural industry challenges that remain relevant despite the Brexit decision”.

Chief among the issues identified is the need for this sector to connect globally. This was true before the referendum and it's true now. This means ensuring that global talent can be attracted while building links with emerging markets and strengthening expertise in specialist areas such as capital markets and Islamic finance. It also means working to keep UK financial and professional services at the cutting edge of innovation, leading research into cyber, blockchain technology and cognitive analytics while incentivising investment and venture capital activity.

Read more: Brexit doom-mongers are wrong: London house prices aren't going to crash

Perhaps TheCityUK’s toughest demand is that the UK maintains access to the EU's Single Market. The early signs are that May's team of Brexit ministers are less wedded to this as a priority. But if they’re to make a success of their plans (whatever shape they may take) they should listen to groups such as TheCityUK, who are committed to promoting the interests of our vital financial and professional services industry and, therefore, the wider interests of the British economy.

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