Daily Express

Barclays boss in new rallying cry

- By David Shand

THE head of an influentia­l lobbying group has issued a rallying cry for business leaders and politician­s to use Britain’s exit from the European Union as a springboar­d to bolstering its status as a financial services powerhouse.

John McFarlane, chairman of TheCityUK, said a “cool head and firm leadership” were required not just to take whatever urgent action is required to counter “unnecessar­y” risk to heavyweigh­t sectors such as banking and insurance, but also to plan for long-term prosperity.

The group is understood to have drawn up a list of demands for politician­s including removing red tape and a publicity drive to reinforce the pre-eminent position of the UK as a financial centre outside the EU.

McFarlane, who also chairs Barclays, said: “While all futures are uncertain, uncertaint­y itself is the single most important enemy of business, and this can only be overcome with greater certainty of direction and progress in execution.”

TheCityUK and management consultant­s McKinsey will produce a strategic paper later this year setting out the attractive­ness of the UK’s financial and profession­al services sector, with a set of recommenda­tions to reinforce the UK’s competitiv­e advantage.

McFarlane said: “In the meantime, we are focusing on preserving our current position, particular­ly London’s role as the time zone’s financial centre.

“This will require clarity on the process of leaving the EU, the future relationsh­ip with the EU, and new initiative­s to increase trade and investment globally and the role of the regions of the UK, particular­ly Scotland and Northern Ireland.”

He acknowledg­ed that aside from uncertaint­y over Britain’s relationsh­ip with the EU, businesses also needed to address “radical changes” from low or negative interest rates and rapid technologi­cal change.

He said: “It is therefore time for all hands on the pump to contain risks and stimulate the economy to boost business.

“It is also time for careful thought, but also for decisivene­ss on matters that constrain progress and others that can accelerate the way forward.

“A great deal of bureaucrac­y and regulation, some necessary but a great deal not, has been added following the global financial crisis. While the policy environmen­t is appropriat­ely biased on soundness and safety, we also need to strengthen the capacity to support growth and jobs. This balance has yet to be found.”

 ??  ?? CHANGE: McFarlane called for a fresh strategy
CHANGE: McFarlane called for a fresh strategy

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