As Theresa May prepares for her landmark speech in Florence on the state of the ongoing Brexit negotiations, the UK-based financial and related professional services industry has issued a stark warning about the lack of progress made on agreeing transitional arrangements.
Miles Celic, Chief Executive Officer, TheCityUK, said,
While negotiators have recently been talking about the importance of transitional arrangements, little progress has been made. For our industry, this really is crunch time. We need the UK and the EU27 to agree a time-limited and legally-binding transition period that resembles the status quo as closely as possible and applies across all sectors of the economy.
Many firms are already moving parts of their operations out of the UK and Europe. When they’ve gone, it's hard to see them coming back. Even if the UK and EU agree the best possible Brexit deal by 2019, without urgent clarity on transitional arrangements, business will assume the worst and act accordingly. Ultimately, this will be bad for customers, bad for businesses and bad for the British and European economies. Post-Brexit, it will fragment the market, hinder the provision of essential financial services to EU and UK enterprises and governments and likely increase the cost of products and services for customers right across the continent.
Florence was once a powerful European financial centre, but lost its position as other better-connected centres arose elsewhere. We don’t want to see the same thing happen to the UK, or indeed to Europe as a whole. Both sides must seize this opportunity to move these negotiations forward, put people and jobs first and get a transitional deal done without delay.