Treasury committee blasts May for lack of City Brexit plan

Treasury committee blasts May for lack of City Brexit plan

The government has been criticised for failing to outline its position on financial services ahead of Brexit negotiations.

Nicky Morgan, chair of the Treasury committee, said the failure to publish a position paper on the industry “sends all the wrong signals”.

She said: “Financial services will be one of the most challenging elements of the Brexit negotiations. A paper articulating a clear sense of direction, and a desired end-state, could have boosted confidence that the government is up to the task.”

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The City had widely expected a position paper to published in Autumn 2017 but there are now concerns it may have been postponed indefinitely. That’s despite the government providing clarification on its stance for various other sectors.

Ms Morgan added: “Financial services firms will be seriously concerned at the chronic state of uncertainty.”

The MP for Loughborough asked last year when the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union planned to published a paper on services and financial services.

MP Robin Walker responded that the government was “continuing a comprehensive programme of engagement with businesses and third party organisations to further inform our thinking”.

He said the government had been “engaging with businesses and industry bodies from all sectors” and would “set out its position as appropriate”.

But, with the government understood to be unable to agree a detailed position on financial services, a publication date has still not been confirmed.

The industry is seen as a crucial part of Brexit negotiations. In 2016, financial and insurance services contributed £124.2bn  to the UK economy, some 7.2 per cent of the UK’s total gross value added, the value generated by any unit engaged in the production of goods and services.

The sector also accounts for more than 1 million jobs in the country – some 3.1 per cent of all UK jobs.