By David Hughes, Chief Political Correspondent
The professional services sector, which employs 4.6 million people in the UK, has warned Theresa May that a bad Brexit deal would severely damage firms’ ability to work across the EU.
Bosses involved in law, accountancy, consulting and other professional services said it was essential to secure mutual recognition on qualifications, regulations and legal judgments between the UK and EU after Brexit.
In an open letter to the Prime Minister, members of the Professional and Business Services Council (PBSC) warned that failure to secure such a deal would put some of the UK’s most important sectors “at a distinct competitive disadvantage”.
The demands also include maintaining rules that allow experts to “fly in, fly out” to advice firms across the EU, continued co-operation on data-sharing and the ability to recruit talent from overseas “whether from the EU or beyond”.
They warned: “Failing to negotiate these elements would impair our ability to provide our services with the same range, depth and speed our clients around the world experience today, damaging their businesses and putting our sectors at a distinct competitive disadvantage.”
The business leaders highlighted the £188 billion in gross value the sector added to the UK as they issued their message ahead of Friday’s Cabinet showdown in Chequers to decide the kind of Brexit deal the Government wants to secure.
The signatories, including PBSC chair and Deloitte north-west Europe chairman Nick Owen and Accenture’s MD Oliver Benzecry, said: “The UK needs a deal that is good for Britain and one that works for the EU27.
“For this to be achieved, the contribution of the British professional services sector to the success of the UK and EU27 economies needs to be recognised and protected.”
Pic by Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire