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Raise voice for final Brexit deal, urges Lord Mayor

Lord Mayor Charles Bowman calls for a bespoke free trade agreement covering both goods and services that will limit Brexit disruption, maintain close EU links and allow the UK to discover a world of opportunities.

Lord Mayor Charles Bowman

July 2018

As a global ambassador for UK financial and professional services, it is my job to champion the industry both at home – to government and investors – and abroad to key international markets.

In my visits, often at the head of business delegations, I have heard huge enthusiasm from our international partners to maintain and expand their relationship with the City of London. As the world’s most dynamic and international financial centre, this is no surprise.

While Brexit does present the opportunity to expand our relationships with international partners across the world, an opportunity that we should grasp firmly, this must not come at the expense of failing to achieve a deep, lasting, and mutually beneficial deal with our partners in the EU.

This is vital for our industry, and our voice must be heard. As a representative for financial and professional services, an industry that employs 2.3m people across the UK and contributes tens of billions of pounds to the economy every year, I know full well the importance of this sector.

But we must do more to promote ourselves and our social purpose as vigorously as we can to remain a preeminent financial and related professional services hub.

As a sector that is sure to be impacted by Brexit, it’s important to reiterate just how vital the sector is to the wider economy. Professional business services, of which accountancy is an important part – along with legal services, management consulting, and advertising – contributes more than 11% of the UK economy. Financial services alone contribute more than 8% and, as a whole, the UK’s economy is more than 80% driven by services.

These are vital industries for the UK’s economic wellbeing. We must raise our voices and speak about what we need to see from a final Brexit deal to support the millions of people across this country who are dependent on a strong, mutually beneficial arrangement being found.

As a sector, we have been clear on this point from early in negotiations.

We believe a bespoke free trade agreement covering both goods and services, based in mutual recognition of regulations, will limit disruption caused by Brexit and maintain our close links to our European partners while allowing us to lift our eyes up to the world and all the opportunities it holds.

Charles Bowman is the 690th Lord Mayor of the City of London, an ICAEW Chartered Accountant and member of the London Society of Chartered Accountants.

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