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City minister vows to protect bankers’ ability to work across EU after Brexit

City minister vows to protect bankers’ ability to work across EU after Brexit

By David Hughes, Chief Political Correspondent

Free movement of bankers across the European Union should be protected after Brexit, the City Minister has said.

Economic Secretary to the Treasury John Glen said the Brexit deal would “protect the mobility of workers and professionals” across the continent.

In a speech to City leaders, he promised that the immigration system developed for after the UK’s departure from the European Union would serve the interests of the economy.

At a conference organised by financial services trade body TheCityUK, Mr Glen said the UK would remain a “global economic citizen”.

“To attract the freshest talent and the most disruptive thinkers, we must continue to be a magnet for the global talent which has fuelled the success of financial services in this country,” he said.

“And now, more than ever, being open to the world means keeping the door open to the brightest minds from wherever they come.

“That means continuing to be a place that can attract the very best workers from abroad, while developing our home-grown talent for the future.

“It is about striking that equilibrium between the two groups.”

He said he was struck by a report from TheCityUK which highlighted the “volume of short-term business travel” between the UK and EU “and how crucial this was to the provision of services”.

“We want to ensure that our new partnership with the EU protects the mobility of workers and professionals across the continent – whether this is a bank moving a worker between its London and Frankfurt branches or a consultant visiting a client in Amsterdam.

“The report makes it clear that financial and professional service firms need access to international talent and I cannot conceive of any circumstance in which we would want to impede or prevent the flow of highly-skilled or highly-paid people.”

He added: “As the new Home Secretary (Sajid Javid) said, even though we do need a more sustainable level of net migration, we want to welcome the highly-skilled people that British business needs.

“We need to continue developing an immigration system that works for the economy.”

Barclays chairman John McFarlane – who also chairs TheCityUK – told the conference in London that one of the priorities for the Brexit deal was to ensure “future access to the best talent”.

Mr Glen also used his speech to hit out at Labour, saying Jeremy Corbyn’s party poses a “greater risk” to the City than Brexit.

The Labour leader and shadow chancellor John McDonnell are “maverick” figures, he said.

Mr McDonnell espouses Marxism and wants to “overthrow capitalism”, Mr Glen said, adding: “I do not want that person to be sitting in 11 Downing Street.”

A Labour source hit back, saying: “The only threat to our country is this Tory Government, evidenced by the resignation of one of their own ministers yesterday citing his party’s shambolic handling of the Brexit negotiations having a negative effect on the economy.”

Pic by Matt Crossick/PA Wire

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