Brexit could prompt financial services exodus

Thomas, who is Labour MP for Harrow West, claimed the Fintech sector in particular would lose out if Britain voted for a Brexit.

If the UK votes for Brexit financial services firms will leave the capital and flock to Frankfurt, Paris, New York and Shanghai, Remain MP Gareth Thomas warned at Scottish Friendly’s Brexit debate this morning.

Thomas, who is Labour MP for Harrow West, claimed the Fintech sector in particular would lose out if Britain voted for a Brexit.

He said: “Britain is the centre of financial services in the European Union. If we were to pull out of the European Union there is no doubt that you would see many financial services businesses over time emigrating to either Frankfurt, to Paris or out of the EU completely to places like New York and Shanghai.

“It’s actually in Britain’s interest if we want to retain the leadership in the Fintech sector that we have got at the moment that we stay in the European Union.

“The Fintech sector seems to be a particular sector that would lose out from Britain pulling out of the European Union.”

He hinted that if some firms leave the City others will follow, adding: “Part of the attraction of EU membership for many of the businesses that are located in the City is access to a series of like-minded businesses.”

However Pro-Brexit Lord Howard Flight hit back, claiming that the impact on financial services would be “extremely limited” before quipping that investment bankers are only worried about a Brexit because in a more competitive environment they “won’t be able to pay themselves as much”.

Kelvin Hopkins, Labour MP for Luton North, also reckoned the economy would “prosper” if the UK votes to leave the EU which would help “rebuild” manufacturing.

Chris Philp, Conservative MP for Croydon South, who was also advocating for Remain at the debate, questioned whether the EU would give the UK a good trade deal in the event of a Brexit.

He said: “Say we left and they said you have full single market access that’s just an invitation for every other slightly disgruntled European country to leave the EU.

“It’s not in their interest at all to cut us a sweetheart deal because it will simply encourage other countries to follow us to the exit door.”

He added: “In terms of our negotiating position, whereas 44% of our exports go to Europe only 8% of their exports come to us so it’s much more important to us to get a deal, so I’m not sure we’re in a particularly strong negotiating position particularly when you bear in mind that they are not going to want to cut us too good a deal.”

He also warned against rising consumer price inflation if the UK votes to leave and predicted the value of sterling falling which would increase the cost of imported goods such as oil.