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City Minister Simon Kirby loses oversight role for impact of Brexit

City Minister Simon Kirby has been stripped of responsibilities for overseeing Brexit's impact on financial services, just months after being handed the portfolio.

Instead, those duties have been transferred to former Tesco executive Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe, who was appointed Commercial Secretary to the Treasury in December.

The Treasury confirmed the shift took place near the end of January, but said the standing-down of Mr Kirby's brief did not change the nature of his role as Economic Secretary in charge of financial services.

But the move follows reports senior City executives were unhappy with Mr Kirby's credentials, after he was unable to provide detailed answers and assurances about how the Treasury was handling Brexit.

Mr Kirby had no experience in banking or finance before stepping into politics, having launched and jointly owned a business called C-Side in Brighton and a local radio station that became Juice FM.

A Treasury spokesperson said: "The Economic Secretary's portfolio is exactly as each of his predecessors, he is responsible for financial services policy and the Government's overall strategic relationship with the UK financial services sector.

"As Britain exits the EU, we will seek the best possible deal, including for our world-leading financial services sector.

"As you would expect, to reflect the importance we place on this policy area we have increased resourcing from ministerial level down".

Baroness Neville-Rolfe brings business experience to the brief, having served as an executive director for Tesco from 2006.

She has also sat on the boards of professional services firm PwC as well as Metro AG and ITV.

She was also president of EU trade association EuroCommerce from 2012 to 2014.

The City Of London Corporation welcomed news of Baroness Neville-Rolfe's expanded role in the Square Mile.

A spokesperson said: "We look forward to working with Baroness Neville-Rolfe in her new City brief.

"It is essential that the City's voice is heard loud and clear during the Brexit negotiations, especially after Article 50 is triggered later this month.

"As an industry we contributed over £176 billion to the economy in 2015, account for over 2.2 million jobs across the country and are a key element of a strong and sustainable economy."

Mr Kirby will still be in charge of banking reform and regulation, and other parts of the financial services brief including asset management, insurance, and the public stake in RBS and Lloyds Banking Group.

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