May to negotiate UK access to EU market

  • 13/10/2016
The EU and UK flags (Reuters)
The EU and UK flags (Reuters)

Britain will see a deal with the European Union that will include maximum possible access to the bloc's single market once it leaves the EU, Prime Minister Theresa May says.

"What we are going to do is be ambitious in our negotiation, to negotiate the best deal for the British people and that will include the maximum possible access to the European market for firms to trade with and operate within," she told parliament, adding that the deal must also include curbs on immigration.

Ms May also said an announcement earlier this month that the government would consider making it harder for British companies to employ workers from outside the EU was not about "naming and shaming" companies.

Ms May has said she will trigger two years of official exit talks with the EU by March 31.

Meanwhile, Bank of England Deputy Governor Jon Cunliffe said large chunks of London's financial sector were unlikely to move to the EU for the foreseeable future, though some activity could shift to New York after Brexit.

Frankfurt, Paris, Luxembourg and Dublin hope banks and other financial firms in London will relocate business to them if Britain fails to secure adequate access to the single market after it leaves the bloc.

Mr Cunliffe, however, said the City of London financial district was a complex "ecosystem" that had taken years to create.

"What we call London ... I can't see that being replicated in the foreseeable future in one place in the European Union," Mr Cunliffe told a committee of Britain's upper house of parliament.

New York, however, already has its own ecosystem to rival London's.

"Some of it, yes, could certainly go (to New York)," Mr Cunliffe said.

Banks may even decide it would not be economic to transfer some activities to the continent, meaning they could simply cease, reducing choice for everyone, Mr Cunliffe said.