City of London says Brexit would hit growth

Leaving the European Union
would be a shock to Britain’s financial industry, threatening
foreign investment and crimping growth, a leading City of London
Corporation official said on Monday.

Mark Boleat, policy chairman for the municipal authority
that runs the historic “square mile” financial district, said if
Britain voted to leave the EU this would create unprecedented
uncertainty.

“The uncertainty would hit the London market, the UK economy
but also the global economy,” he said in a speech to the
Institute of Actuaries. “The detrimental effects on the exchange
rate – already apparent – interest rates, credit ratings, inward
investment and economic activity generally would certainly
trickle down to the consumer.”

Boleat said access to the EU single market was vital to the
City. Last month, the corporation formally backed Britain
remaining in the 28-country bloc. The vote takes
place on June 23.

Supporters of Britain leaving the EU or Brexit have accused
pro-EU campaigners of being alarmist, saying financial services
would still thrive outside the bloc.

Boleat said no financial trade association has said Britain
would be better off leaving the EU.

The British Bankers’ Association said in March that banks
would suffer if Britain left the EU, but it has adopted a
neutral position on the referendum.

Some companies are concerned that taking sides could
alienate customers. But Boleat urged businesses to communicate
the impact a Brexit would have in a “considered, rational,
non-emotional way.”

“This is not a debate that business should sit out,” he
said.

(Reporting by Huw Jones. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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