Brexit Update

One year to go and I am very optimistic about the progress of Brexit! We have had continued good economic news in the last couple of weeks, with a slew of more #despiteBrexit headlines!

Analysis by EY has highlighted that stronger than expected economic performance has put UK financial services on the path to reaching a record £1.5 trillion assets under management by 2020.

London has retained its spot as the world’s leading financial centre, beating all 110 cities analysed for the 23rd edition of the international rankings compiled by think tank Z/Yen. Leading against New York, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Tokyo, London has fended off stiff competition with no other European city anywhere in sight.

Commercial property agent Colliers International has confirmed that London office space is still hot property. Take-up by European firms hit a 15-year high last year, bolstered by major deals such as Deutsche Bank choosing a new headquarters. Overall occupiers snapped up 12.2 million square foot of space – the highest since 2014. As James Walker, head of city agency at Colliers, said: “It is clear that London’s magnetism for some of the world’s biggest companies hasn’t diminished.”

I've been confident from the start of the referendum campaign that the City would do just fine out of Brexit, and the evidence so far supports that.

German manufacturing has shown yet more confidence in the UK economy as Siemens confirms that they will be opening a £27m 3D-printing factory in the West Midlands. Forming part of the supply chain for customers like Rolls-Royce and British Aerospace, the 50 skilled jobs that the Siemens plant will create adds to the 1,000 new jobs the company has created in the UK in the past three years, bringing the total to around 15,000.

UK business exports go from strength to strength with our creative industries exporting more than £46bn in goods and services last year. British music, art, advertising and digital technology all contributed to the value of the sector, according to a report by the Creative Industries Federation. As John Kampfner, their Chief Executive, said: “While the scale may be international, the impact is local. Last year creative jobs grew by 25 per cent in Yorkshire and the West Midlands, with regional economies, from Scotland to the West Midlands all growing faster than London.”

As an example of why our future outside the EU will be so positive for British businesses, our iconic British sugar refiner Tate & Lyle has revealed that the EU forces it to pay a 35 per cent import tariff on sugar cane. Tate & Lyle’s Senior Vice President, Gerald Mason, has hailed the opportunities that Brexit offers, saying that leaving the EU will put an end to the cheques the sugar-refinery business has to pay to Brussels before being allowed to sell its products.

A report by Standard Chartered bank claims that the UK, more than any other G7 nation, has more opportunity to increase trade with countries such as India and China, suggesting that Brexit would lift the value of UK exports to seven emerging markets by £12.2 billion each year. Analysing trade with Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Vietnam – home to almost half the world’s population – Standard Chartered said that Britain could export 43 per cent more than at present.

So, I am delighted that EU negotiators have accepted the UK’s demand that we should be able to pursue an independent trade policy while remaining inside the customs union and single market during the implementation period. Countries seeking a post-Brexit trade deal with us include Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Kenya, Mexico, New Zealand, Pakistan, the United States, and dozens of others! Over to you Liam…