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Commenting on the Prime Minister’s Brexit speech

Commenting on the Prime Minister’s Brexit speech, Policy Chairman of the City of London Corporation, Catherine McGuinness, said:

On an implementation period:

“The speech is helpful.

The commitment to continuation of access on existing terms will be beneficial for firms based here. It will enable them to plan towards the new Brexit future, and avoid toppling over the precipice.

“But we need to see actual progress.

“Firms in the financial and professional services sector plan two to or more years in advance. With only 18 months left until the UK leave the bloc, urgent agreement on a transitional arrangement is crucial.

“Otherwise, firms may well be forced to implement contingency plans unnecessarily.

This is a sector that provides 2.2 million jobs and £72 billion to the economy, which provides essential services to ordinary people and businesses up and down the country. We are hopeful that the Government understands the need to consider the implications for the financial and professional services sector.”

On a Brexit bill:

“We did not hear from the Prime Minister a commitment on a final exit bill.

“As the Government has said, it is important to consider our long-term relationship with the EU, which must continue to thrive long after Brexit.

“You can hammer out the best possible deal in the world, but it you take too long about it, and you may lose some of the assets that you need to make the best future.

“In the interests of that long-term relationship I urge the government to find an agreed way forward sooner rather than later.”

On a future trading relationship:

“Today’s speech has reinvigorated hopes for the sector that Government is working towards a new relationship that will benefit both the EU and the UK.

“We echo the Prime Minister’s view that ‘shared values’ should be central to post-Brexit regulatory and legal frameworks.

“We also support the notion that the UK is in the unique position that our current frameworks are completely aligned with the EU’s – a consideration that should be taken into account by UK and EU negotiators.

“Alongside the International Regulatory Strategy Group, the City of London Corporation is leading in a delegation to Brussels next week, which places this idea at its core.”