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London Business Matters

February 2017 Brexit 7 Government SPONSORED COLUMN Never forget – the UK priorities for is open for business Brexit revealed Nigel Rowley Managing Partner Don’t get me wrong. We are in unchartered territory. We are in a position that as businessmen, many of us never believed that we would be in, but it is not a position that is as dire as people would have you believe. How can I say that? I am Managing Partner of a London Law Firm, but also Chairman of Mackrell International made up of 94 Law firms around the world, 5000 lawyers. Inevitably I’ve received emails from all over the world in the course of the last few months, many asking whether there is turmoil in the United Kingdom. But as businessmen, we know there is no turmoil. So what do I say to my international colleagues? I tell them to Ignore what the journalist’s say, what the politicians say and concentrate on what business says. We are all business people. We are all in business and no matter what happens in relation to the European Union, whether the United Kingdom is the only country to exit, whether other countries follow suit, the reality is we all remain in business and business will continue. We remain one of the largest economies in the world. We have massive trading with European countries, with the US, with Asia, in fact with everywhere. Business will ensure that continues. Ignore any suggestion that we are in a dire position as there is nothing to substantiate that. Those are headlines; they sell newspapers, but look at the underlying facts. We are business men. You are business men. Business goes on. We see this from the inside and let me tell you, things are busy and it’s been busy since the vote because the UK remains open for business. There are many examples of business flowing into the UK, into companies, into mergers and acquisitions, into property, into investments; business is talking. As one of my US colleagues put it, “London will always be one of the world’s principle centres for international business. Its pre-eminence as a commercial and financial centre will not be interrupted” Mackrell Turner Garrett Solicitors Savoy Hill House, Savoy Hill London WC2R 0BU Tel: +44 20 7240 0521 Fax: +44 20 7240 9457 www.mackrell.com “London will always be one of the world’s principle centres for international business. Its pre-eminence as a commercial and financial centre will not be interrupted” Last month Prime Minister Theresa May set out the 12 negotiating priorities for Brexit as part of Britain’s plan in leaving the European Union. At a packed Lancaster House before an audience of cabinet colleagues, foreign ambassadors, press and selected guests, including LCCI chief executive Colin Stanbridge, the PM revealed some key details about her approach to the most important government negotiation for a generation. This would lead to a “positive and constructive partnership between Britain and the European Union” and would provide the “opportunity to make Britain stronger … fairer, and to build a more global Britain too.” There was a need for a “smooth, orderly Brexit” argued the Prime Minister and it was in “no-one’s interest for there to be a cliff edge for business or a threat to stability” as the relationship with the EU changed. Her priorities included free trade with European markets and new trade agreements with other countries, signaling the end of the UK’s single market status and, most likely, its participation in the Customs Union. Brightest The protection of workers’ rights was a further priority as were the rights of EU nationals in Britain, and British nationals in the EU. She would ensure that the UK could control immigration but was clear that “we will continue to attract the brightest and best to work or study” here. Commenting on the Prime Minister’s speech, Colin Stanbridge said: “We have at least some colouring now COVER STORY (Print) ISSN 1469-5162 (Online) ISSN 2051-9524 on the previously blank Brexit canvass with single market membership to be ended.   A Whitehall assessment on the impacts of that would be very interesting – hopefully by the time of the Budget. “We look forward to more detail on the special customs arrangements the PM hopes for.   Clarity on barrier free arrangements is critical to business.” Mindful On immigration, Stanbridge said that the Prime Minister needed to be mindful that London and the wider UK will not just need very highly skilled professionals but also many workers to undertake the tasks and roles that maintain the economy on a daily basis be that in hotels, transport or retail.   “London will need a flexible migration system – we have advocated that existing EU national employees in London should have permanent residency while a dedicated capital work-permit system could be tailored to cater for the future migration that London will need”. Peril Mayor of London Sadiq Khan took a dimmer view and claimed that the Prime Minister’s plans were designed to paper over party political cracks and could “rip Britain apart”. Writing in the London Evening Standard the Mayor warned that “if we continue on this path – towards a ‘hard Brexit’ – we risk having to explain to future generations why we knowingly put their economy, their prosperity and their place on the world stage in such peril.” “We have at least some colouring now on the previously blank Brexit canvass with single market membership to be ended.” – Colin Stanbridge LONDON BUSINESS MATTERS | Issue 132 | February 2017 Issue 132 | February 2017 www.londonbusinessmatters.co.uk | www.londonchamber.co.uk INSIDE Brexit priorities revealed Page 7 LCCI urges TfL control of London-bound rail services Page 4 Click/tap for more info


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