Global banks set New Year deadline for Brexit relocation plans
INTERNATIONAL banks with operations in the City will decide early next year whether or not to move some jobs from the UK, a senior Treasury official has warned.
At yesterday’s Treasury Select Committee hearing – where Chancellor Philip Hammond was grilled on the Government’s preparedness for Brexit – Katharine Braddick, who is the financial services director general, suggested there was a race against time to convince global finance firms to stay in Britain. Ms Braddick said financiers who used Britain to serve clients in the EU had the most advanced relocation plans.
She told MPs: “Those plans, if you like, harden, become more firm, at the point at which they start to alter contractual paperwork.
“For most of the firms that we talk to, that will fall at some point in the first quarter of next year.”
City firms have been pressing for a transition period, Ms Braddick said, “because, apart from anything else, what they want is to have longer to see where the deal is likely to emerge”. Mr Hammond described the promise of a transition deal on Brexit as a “wasting asset”, saying its value to businesses that were planning for the future was falling all the time.
He said: “It has value today, it will still have a very high value at Christmas and early into the New Year, but as we move through 2018 its value to everybody will diminish significantly.
“I think our European partners need to think very carefully about the need for speed in order to protect the potential value to all of us of having an interim agreement that protects our businesses and our citizens and allows investment in normal business activity, contracting and so on to carry on.” He urged the European Union’s politicians to come up with a “rapid response”, and to engage swiftly in negotiations on a deal on new business arrangements.
“It means breaking out of the structure of the negotiation that has been imposed by the EC, and allowing at least exploratory discussions around what a transition might look like, what a future partnership agreement might look like,” he said.
“The only way we will settle the socalled ‘Phase 1’ issues is to set them in a broader context of the UK’s future relationship with the EU.”