THE lobby group for Britain’s financial services industry today called on politicians to step up efforts to create a more competitive European Union.
TheCityUK has published detailed proposals to reform the EU and lead to stronger, more constructive engagement with other member states.
The financial and related professional services industry is a major regional and national employer and contributes an estimated £67bn towards Britain’s balance of trade.
TheCityUK said a single market for capital is central to the industry’s ability to be competitive in the global economy and deliver the jobs and growth which Europe needs.
Sir Gerry Grimstone, chairman, said: “Fact not fiction should inform the EU reform agenda.
“The evidence we’ve gathered from the financial and related professional services industry shows that continued membership of the EU is vital for UK competitiveness, but a lot needs to be change if the EU is to better serve the interests of its 500 million people.
“The City is Europe’s financial capital and our members, representing many different countries, want practical change that can be delivered quickly, promote economic growth, bolster global trade and investment, and secure Europe’s competitive position in the world. Let’s get on with it.”
The lobby group, which is funded by private subscription, has published 25 reform proposals.
They cover a “deep and strong single market, open to the world”, better regulation, a European agenda for jobs, growth and competitiveness and fair and equal treatment of all member states.
Sir Gerry said: “We firmly believe that the EU can work more efficiently and the UK is not alone in calling for its reform; other member states have also put forward ambitious proposals.
“However, to achieve the goals that we have outlined, real progress and commitments to reform need to be made by all players involved from across the private and public sectors.
“TheCityUK’s proposals for EU reform focus on areas where the financial and related professional services industry has particular expertise.
“They will bring benefit not only to the industry, but to the whole of the EU by enabling it to better provide the investment for jobs and growth that Europe needs.
“We look forward to developing the recommendations put forward in this report and strengthening our alliances across other member states to deliver a better, more competitive EU.”
Nicky Edwards, director of policy and public affairs at TheCityUK, said two thirds of jobs in Britain’s financial services industry are based outside of London and the South East. She said international businesses would look twice at investing in Britain if the country left the EU.
Ms Edwards told The Yorkshire Post: “Our survey of our members who are financial and professional services related firms found that 84 per cent said Britain’s membership of the EU and particularly its access to the single market is very important to those businesses and they thought that membership should continue.”
The Government is trying to negotiate reforms ahead of a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union.