TheCityUK seeks stability budget ahead of Article 50

TheCityUK is calling on the Chancellor to put financial stability, certainty and economic opportunity at the heart of his spring budget.

Against the backdrop of expectation that Article 50 will be triggered in March, the UK-based financial and related professional services industry is proposing three guiding principles for shaping future economic policy, all geared towards minimising uncertainty and supporting the economy through the Brexit process:

  1. To maintain and improve the UK’s competitiveness and attractiveness to business.
  2. To continue to prioritise and drive forward regional economic growth across the UK.
  3. To ensure a smooth Brexit transition, which maintains mutual market access between the UK and the EU, and provides a suitable bridging period to allow businesses time to adjust to new circumstances while continuing to service and support their customers and clients.

Miles Celic, Chief Executive, TheCityUK, said:

The UK is home to the world’s leading international financial centre, powered by an industry which employs 2.2 million people, two thirds of whom are based outside of London in significant centres such as Edinburgh, Birmingham and Cardiff. It is integral to the UK economy, paying almost £72 billion in tax.

Getting the right Brexit deal for the UK, the EU 27 and global stability – one that is orderly and provides as much certainty as possible – is fundamental to ensuring that the UK remains an attractive and internationally competitive place to do business, and so is ensuring the right policy environment to enable it to prosper. Enhancing the clarity and competitiveness of the UK’s tax regime, bolstering national productivity and supporting innovation across the country should be key priority areas.

In its Budget submission, TheCityUK considers various measures to increase the competitiveness of the tax regime, and cautions against the introduction of sensitive new tax changes. It recommends a focus on simplification and improving competitiveness and proposes enhancing the powers of the Office for Tax Simplification (OTS) to help deliver this.

The Government’s industrial strategy has the potential to go some way in boosting regional growth, but TheCityUK calls for the Budget to do more to support the development of start-up and innovation-focused finance beyond London and the South-East. It cites the opportunities which could arise from a fund which could be set up within the British Business Bank to co-invest with early-stage equity investors, incentivising regional diversity in investments.

TheCityUK budget submission also makes the case for a bespoke deal with the EU based on mutual recognition and regulatory cooperation that delivers similar market access rights to those currently in place. This would be in the best interests of the UK and the EU 27.

A smooth and orderly exit with as much certainty as possible is in the mutual interests of the UK, the EU and the global community. Clear interim arrangements will facilitate this adjustment process and help ensure smooth and efficiently functioning markets, investor protection, and continuity of service provision to customers and clients.