World Economy

UK Chancellor Warns of Brexit Uncertainty

UK Chancellor Warns of Brexit UncertaintyUK Chancellor Warns of Brexit Uncertainty

Philip Hammond warned that Brexit uncertainty is hurting the economy today amid complaints London is being ‘kept in the dark’ about the UK’s negotiating stance.

The chancellor said there was an urgent need for ‘real progress’ in talks with Brussels to give clarity to businesses about the arrangements after March next year, Mailonline reported.

The warning came as it emerged the government is unlikely to reveal its key demands for a financial services deal in Brexit talks. Theresa May had suggested a blueprint of Britain’s goals would be published this year.

But ministers are now thought to be kicking the plans into the long grass, or even dropping them altogether. Catherine McGuinness, policy chair at the City of London Corporation, told the FT the lack of clarity was unacceptable. “It has always been our expectation there would be a position paper,” she said.

When so many other sectors and issues have been given this clarity, the city is left in the dark, she said.

Commons treasury committee chair Nicky Morgan also waded into the row, saying the government was sending the “wrong signals”. “Financial services will be one of the most challenging elements of the Brexit negotiations,” she said. “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.

“Some level of clarity has been provided for numerous sectors. Financial services firms will be seriously concerned at the chronic state of uncertainty.”

Fears have been growing about job losses in the city, as banks make decisions based on how they think Brexit will shake out.

French President Emmanuel Macron has been on a charm offensive with financial services urging them to relocate staff to Paris.

Speaking on a visit to Brussels Wednesday morning, Hammond blamed sluggish growth forecasts on a “degree of uncertainty about our future direction”. He reiterated his desire to get a transition deal agreed with the EU as soon as possible.

“Because of the negotiations that are going on there’s a degree of uncertainty about our future direction and our future arrangements for trading with our European partners and that’s bound to have an impact on thinking about the economy,” he said.

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