The City risks losing its status as the world’s leading financial centre, Barclays chairman John McFarlane will warn in a speech tonight.
Speaking at TheCityUK’s annual dinner at Mansion House, McFarlane will say that Britain’s attractiveness as a financial centre is reaching a “tipping point” due to disadvantages in taxation, levies, regulation and infrastructure.
“London is the world’s leading financial centre and TheCityUK’s priority is to keep it that way,” McFarlane, who is also chairman of TheCityUK, will say, adding, “We need to advance our strengths and eliminate disadvantages. Staying the same simply will not cut it.
“The economic balance of power is heading east and the technological revolution means business must strive harder to compete. It needs the support of government to win.”
McFarlane will also call for the government and regulators to launch a review of the unintended consequences of existing regulation, saying that sector-specific levies and surcharges such as the bank levy and new corporation tax surcharge “may have negative implications over the longer-term that we risk realising only when it is too late”.
McFarlane will also defend Britain staying in the European Union, saying that the “clear majority” of TheCityUK members “feel that staying in a reformed Europe is the right choice, not just for us, working in international markets, but for our customers here in the UK”.
“It is imperative that we do our part in shaping the reform agenda that supports the government here in the UK – and indeed other governments – to create an outcome that the voting public can choose with confidence,” McFarlane will add.