Hard Brexit will need longer transition for businesses, City policy chief warns

Mark Sands
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The UK voted to leave the European Union on 23 June. (Source: Getty)

The Square Mile will need a longer transition if Theresa May pursues a so-called Hard Brexit, City policy chairman Mark Boleat has warned.

Delivering a lecture at King’s College, Boleat said that any deal with the EU must include time for business to adapt.

However, he added that the nature of the deal is more important than the fact of Brexit, itself.

“Not to have a transition period would be severely disruptive to business and therefore to people throughout the EU,” Boleat said.

“And the harder the Brexit the longer the transition period needs to be.”

Read More: City eyes best possible access to Europe's Single Market

However, Boleat also sounded a note of optimism by arguing Brexit could leave the City in a stronger position in the long term.

The City of London Corporation argued in favour of a Remain vote in the referendum, but last night Boleat said that quitting the EU could yield benefits.

In particular, he said that Theresa May’s government could still secure continued Single Market access for City firms, together with a role to influence on regulation and protected access to European talent, “with just a modest increase in bureaucracy”

In such a scenario, he said: “little will change for the worse and there may be opportunities to pursue policies that could make London even stronger as a financial centre.”

Read More: Fairbairn sounds the alarm on Brexit "crash-landing"

Boleat is expected to step down as the City’s policy chairman in May this year after five years in his role.

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