Finance industry tells next PM what it needs

The trade body representing the UK's financial services industry has set out the 'manifesto' it wants the nation's new prime minister to adopt to "help regain our role as the world’s foremost international centre of finance".

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29/07/2022. London, United Kingdom. No10 Downing Street are flying the flag of St George in support of the England Women's Football Team after reaching the final of the Euro 2022 tournament. 10 Downing Street. Picture by Kyle Heller / No 10 Downing Street

The eight proposals put forward by TheCityUK to both Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak - one of whom will take over as PM after a vote is declared on September 5 - include demands for a fundamental reform for of visas for short-term business visitors, including intra-company transfers (ICTs)."Alongside efforts to build skills among the UK workforce, British businesses need access to the world’s best talent to develop innovative products and services for UK and international customers," according to TheCityUK."Businesses, including many professional services firms, currently struggle to bring international employees to the UK for short-term periods for project work. This can stall the contribution our industry can make to economic growth and prosperity."The next Prime Minister should reform the short-term business mobility rules to allow business visitors to conduct more activities in the UK (and) remove the requirement for companies to acquire an Intra-Company Transfer visa for international employees coming to the UK for short-term work."The organisation says its plan outlines areas where the industry can work with the next prime minister to deliver more skilled jobs across the country, increase services exports and ultimately generate higher tax receipts by boosting the financial and related professional services industry.

Key recommendations in the manifesto also include:

  • Delivering the new Financial Services and Markets Bill as soon as possible to increase the global appeal of the UK as a financial hub; and reforms to free up capital for widespread UK infrastructure investment spending.
  • Reforming the tax system to create incentives that will accelerate financing the transition to net zero.
  • Combating protectionism by forging free trade agreements that champion services trade and pursue dialogues that boost foreign direct investment.
The manifesto points out that financial and related professional services industry provides jobs for one in 14 people right across the nation, two-thirds of whom work outside London, with the sector contributing more than 12 per cent of the UK’s total economic output and is the UK’s largest taxpayer.Miles Celic, CEO of TheCityUK, said: “The financial services and related professional services industry is a British success story – but we can do more.“As we reach the final weeks of the leadership elections, we hope the candidates consider the role we can play in supporting their economic agendas and help regain our role as the world’s foremost international centre of finance.“By working closely with our members, the next Prime Minister can help boost investment and drive the long-needed economic growth that is the only way for the UK to meet its potential.”The manifesto says the UK already has many advantages over global competitors with "our high regulatory standards being a strength, not a weakness, providing certainty and reassurance for businesses and investors".It adds that the UK has the largest and most developed market in Europe for related professional services (accounting, management consulting and legal services), with the three sectors contributing £27.1 billion, £16.8 billion and £22.2 billion respectively to UK output in 2018."The UK’s exit from the EU provides an opportunity to enhance the competitiveness of our economy even further through a new regulatory framework," says the manifesto."This will ensure that our industry can support the government to create the wealth, jobs and opportunities of the future."The next prime minister should set an ambitious target for the UK to regain its position as the world’s leading international finance centre within the next five years. Our International Strategy sets out a clear path on how this can be achieved."

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