Who: Richard Howitt, Labour MEP for East of England
"The City of London would slowly start to diminish if we left the European Union. Alex Wilmot-Sitwell, head of the European arm of Bank of America Merrill Lynch states “A significant amount of financial trade currently booked in London would leave if the UK left the EU…It wouldn’t happen overnight but, steadily, it would fragment throughout the EU.”(1)
THE CASE FOR A #FREEBRITAIN
"As George Osbourne himself stated, The City trades twice as many Euros every day than the whole Eurozone put together, and one of the greatest threats to the City’s competitiveness comes from misguided European legislation.
Given the failure to secure any such change in the UK’s relationship with the EU – and the lack of any protections for our financial services sector – you’d think the Chancellor would now support Brexit. Alas, he seems to have quickly forgotten his own warning.
We are talking about a square-mile of land that currently generates £45 billion for the UK economy. Although bankers may be criticized for their behavior in recent years, the reality of its huge contributions in terms of jobs and tax to the Exchequer are almost always underestimated.
These benefits will be put at risk by an increasing volume of financial regulation from Brussels if we remain after June 23rd. The Eurozone will move to complete its full banking and markets union using the framework and the institutions of the European Union. And with no protections won in Cameron’s so-called ‘renegotiation’ the UK will be left powerless to prevent the Eurozone from introducing new EU-wide regulations that will harm the City’s competitiveness. It will be under siege. It will have to deal with wave after wave of attacks from Brussels, and it will be defenceless.
The EU has ambitions for a common corporation tax and wants to end trust fund structures that help the City of London operate. It will introduce a single European wide financial regulator based in Frankfurt that will undermine the City of London. And the EU’s leading lights eye the City with jealousy and as a terrible threat needed to be brought to heel.
Leaving the single market will mean our financial services will lose access to that market, they say. Being inside the club allows us to influence the rules and regulations, they claim. The UK would be isolated, foreign inward investment would dry up, trans-nationals based in London would up sticks and leave. They paint a bleak picture. But it is a picture painted without any grounding in fact.
The people who make these claims are the same who said London’s position as a financial centre would be eroded if we didn’t join the Euro. The doom they predicted then never materialised. To the contrary, the City has thrived and prospered outside the currency union.
Those same commentators were wrong then and they are wrong now. It is quite simply puzzling that the same people who bemoan further regulation from Brussels now campaign for a vote that will almost certainly bring just that.
A vote to Remain would be a vote to abandon the section of the economy our country most depends.
Steven Woolfe MEP