Policy Chairman calls for ‘refocus on pragmatism’ on Brexit

Speaking at Guildhall this afternoon, City of London Corporation Policy Chairman Catherine McGuinness stated that “now is the time to refocus on pragmatism” following the publication of the Government’s Brexit White Paper last week.

In a statement to the Court of Common Council, the City Corporation’s main decision-making body, the Policy Chairman acknowledged it was a disappointment that the White Paper rejected the concept of mutual market recognition in favour of an alternative approach that means the UK and European Union will not have the same levels of access.

She stated, however, that it was now time to focus on delivering the best outcome possible under the framework set out by the Government.

In her statement, Policy Chairman Catherine McGuinness said:

“Since the referendum, we have maintained a pragmatic approach.

“Now is the time to refocus on pragmatism.

“We need to concentrate on what is in the White Paper and how we can help build on it, and not speculate about alternatives which are no longer an option.

“This will mean working with Government to ensure that what the sector faces for the longer term is not a one-sided arrangement with the European Commission taking decisions about our business unilaterally.

“Most importantly it will mean standing up for the financial services which contribute £72 billion to our economy in tax take.

“For the professional business services which directly employ 4.6 million people across the UK and generate 11% of national GVA.

“And ensuring that the settlement which our government seeks to negotiate has this vital sector firmly to the fore.

“The City Corporation will continue to promote the needs of the financial and professional services sector. To work with the sector to identify the issues and develop solutions which stay within the Government’s “red lines”, whatever those happen to be.

“Our credibility and legitimacy depend on speaking with the backing of the sector.

“Working together is also the way to we help maintain London as a world-leading financial centre.

“We can however expect turbulence over the next few months and a greater variety of views from the sector than we have seen so far. There may also be points at which our fundamental interest, the prosperity and wellbeing of the City of London and all that it contributes to this country, may differ from those of international businesses based here, and we should be alive to that.”


Notes to editors

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK.