As Britain settles into the post-Brexit era, it would be wrong to judge Britain’s world-class financial sector and the strength and creativity of the economy by appearances.
Covid and working from home have left the normally crowded lanes of the City of London and the crowded squares among the towers of Canary Wharf looking despairing.
But the jobs and income disaster for the City and UK plc, predicted so strongly in the Remain camp, never materialized.
Sign of the times: anti-Brexit activists marching in London. But the jobs and income disaster predicted so strongly in the Rest camp, never materialized
Instead of losing 100,000 jobs on the continent, employment in UK financial services is improving.
As a survey by professional services firm EY shows, 87% of global financial firms plan to expand their business in Britain. This is the highest level of optimism since 2016, the year of the referendum.
This despite the fact that, unlike other sectors of the economy, such as car manufacturing and agriculture, Boris Johnson’s government has not put in place long-term ‘equivalence’ measures designed to ensure the vibrancy of the Square Mile and the jobs it creates across the economy are protected.
Compared to the few thousand jobs that have migrated to France, there are many more that are being created – breaking new frontiers in fintech, trading green bonds and raising fresh capital for Britain’s revolution of biotechnology, life sciences and artificial intelligence.
When, in the early hours of Britain’s divorce from the EU, some £5billion of euro-denominated shares moved to Amsterdam, the event was treated as a Brexit watershed moment by pro-EU opinion makers.
The reality is that much of the trading is still done on a UK technology platform and the infinitely larger trading of £75 trillion (yes, trillion) worth of foreign currencies and complex currency and currency based products interest rate is as firmly entrenched here as it has ever been.
It is no coincidence that last year investment bankers Goldman Sachs demonstrated their commitment to London as their European and global headquarters, with the opening of a brand new billion dollar home. pounds sterling for its 6,500 employees.
The pandemic may have cast a dark shadow over the national mood, but it has also demonstrated the resilience and depth of talent at UK plc.
Our great science universities, along with UK life science giants Astrazeneca and Glaxosmithkline, are making a huge contribution to saving lives.
The Oxford Covid vaccine has grabbed the headlines, but recent months have also seen big breakthroughs from UK research and development into treating malaria, meningitis and HIV.
City: Instead of losing 100,000 jobs on the Continent as some predicted, employment in UK financial services is improving
The creative sector, from film production to games and advertising, is booming. The UK has also demonstrated that it can be at the forefront of the digital revolution with the launch in London markets of companies as diverse as Cambridge-based cybersecurity pioneers Darktrace, and technology platforms such as Deliveroo and Freddie’s Flowers.
Peppa Pig may be widely mocked as a symbol of the Prime Minister’s incompetence after her stumbling appearance before the locals in CBI affairs.
What critics failed to acknowledge was that British creation, in all its forms, has become one of the country’s great brands, selling for £3billion to US toy giant Hasbro in 2019.
In sports, British franchises ranging from F1 motor racing to the Premier League have become the most beloved sports businesses in the world.
We tend to measure Britain’s success by the number of cars built and sold, and the containers arriving and departing from Felixstowe.
As important as the manufacturing sector is, we must never forget that more than 70% of national production is made up of services, fueled by the country’s creativity and intellectual property.
Yes, physical trade with the EU has suffered from the pandemic and the picky behavior of EU border bureaucrats.
The Independent Office for Fiscal Responsibility has predicted a deep shock to the country’s balance of payments following the loss of some EU trade.
Nissan has chosen to build its new electric vehicle battery plant in the UK and the Mercedes super range electric car uses technology developed at the West Midlands/Oxfordshire engineering workshops of Motorsport Valley.
Listening to Remain fanatics, you would think the nation is heading for an economic catastrophe of unprecedented proportions.
Of course, the country, like the rest of the world, is facing a cost of living calamity due to supply chain bottlenecks and soaring energy costs.
Yet the International Monetary Fund, which has previously predicted that Brexit will be “pretty bad, even very bad” for Britain and the world, predicts the UK will be among the fastest growing advanced economies in the world. current year, with an expansion of 4.7 percent.
A recent Deloitte survey of CFOs found that 37% said capital spending would be a priority in 2022, the highest figure since the survey was launched in 2009.
Some 59% of respondents indicated that demand for products and services had returned to or exceeded pre-pandemic levels.
The optimism of large swathes of the business community, the resilience of the city and the creativity and innovation of British commerce are not things we hear much about amid the endless gloom from broadcasters and politicians in the opposition.
It’s time for critics to look up and acknowledge that Britain’s flexible economy is on the mend.
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