Leaders of the City have been voicing their concern for not being briefed on the progress – or lack thereof – of Brexit negotiations.
Speaking to Reuters, the policy chair of the Corporation of the City of London, Catherine McGuiness, told Reuters that the financial industry in the UK had been “left in the dark,” which she finds “disheartening.” However, there is apparently some relief the government is working towards a two-year transition period.
The financial sector generates 12% of the British GDP.
The former cabinet minister and Conservative backbencher Nicky Morgan has argued that the government’s failure to publish an impact assessment of Brexit on financial services projects the lack of a “clear sense of direction.”
Banks, insurance companies, brokers, and even asset managers are setting up subsidiaries in EU member states in the countdown for the UK’s exit from the EU in March 2019. The process of moving jobs and divesting to Europe could be scaled up if the danger of cliff-edge disruption of service becomes tangible.
On November 1st, 2018, parliamentary opposition in the UK passed a motion demanding the handing over of an impact assessment that has been conducted by the government. Theresa May’s government is now claiming this 850-page forecast does not exist.
Soon afterwards, Britain’s Department for Exiting the European Union rebranded the report a “sectoral analysis” and is refusing to deliver it to parliament. The Brexit Secretary, David Davies, says that an assessment of the possible damage would have “zero” significance because of the “paradigmatic” significance of leaving the EU.
The government refuses to commit to its publication.
The Labour, Liberal, and Scottish National Party opposition have made clear that a forecast is urgently needed. According to the BBC, in four separate occasions from October 2016 to June 2017, Brexit secretary David Davis spoke of an analysis of the “implications” and the “impact” of Brexit on 58 sectors of the economy.
Testifying in parliament, David Davis went as far as to suggest he had not read the report and, therefore, he is unable to comment on its content. What he did say is that the conclusion of the report would be “unhelpful” to the ongoing negotiations.