According to advisers at yesterday’s FSE London exhibition, the decision to leave the EU could bring short-term pain for the UK economy and British business, but ultimately result in a long-term gain.
Advisers were responding to a series of Brexit-related questions posed by ITV Political Editor, Robert Peston, during his key-note speech at Old Billingsgate today.
During the course of a wide-ranging, and well-received, talk Peston asked attendees how they viewed the post-Brexit landscape. Approximately a third suggested Brexit would be bad for their business, slightly less than two-thirds said it would make no difference, while the rest thought it would be good.
However, when quizzed on whether the UK would be poorer in five years’ time because of Brexit, two-thirds agreed, while a third said there would be no difference. When the timescale was placed at 20 years however, more than half thought the UK would be a richer country.
This optimism however appeared to be predicated on whether the UK could secure access to the single market. Nearly eight out of 10 respondents felt this was absolutely vital, with a small minority suggesting it was unimportant.
Peston suggested himself that access to the single market was vitally important for the UK economy “because it is so dependent on services”; he highlighted the issue of passporting for financial services and suggested that without such access the UK’s economic prospects would be damaged.
He also agreed that uncertainty about the UK’s post-Brexit relationship with the EU would continue to be damaging without any clarity about what the Government wanted. “We need to spell this out by March,” he said. “If we don’t spell it out we’ll have no audience in Europe because both France and Germany will be engulfed in their own elections.”
For that reason, he anticipated that Theresa May’s Government would invoke Article 50 to leave the EU in February or March 2017.
Further details on Financial Services Expo London are available at: http://www.financialservicesexpo.co.uk/london