Belfast Telegraph

EU MEP dashes hopes of keeping euro clearing business in London after Brexit

The head of the European Parliament's biggest political bloc poured cold water on hopes euro clearing might stay in London after Brexit, putting over 200,000 jobs at risk.

Manfred Weber, chair of the European People's Party, was outlining the group's political priorities or "red lines" on Brexit during a press conference in Strasbourg, when he said EU citizens must "decide on their own money".

"That's about the financial markets.

"When Great Britain is leaving the European Union, for us it's not thinkable that at the end the whole euro business is still managed in London.

"When this is an external place, this is not an EU place any more, then the euro business should be managed on EU soil," Mr Weber told reporters on Tuesday.

The party leader did not clarify whether he was referring specifically to euro clearing, which settles business and trade conducted in euros, b ut Mr Weber's comments have dampened hopes London will end up hosting the operations after Britain completes its divorce from the EU.

An independent report conducted by EY for the London Stock Exchange last autumn said up to 83,000 clearing jobs could be lost over the next seven years if euro-denominated clearing leaves London.

But those job losses would create a domino effect on other financial sectors, impacting up to 232,000 jobs across the UK, the report said.

John McDonnell, Labour MP and shadow chancellor, said the job threat is "all too predictable given the Tories' extreme approach to the Brexit negotiations".

He said: "This is yet another major concern facing our country since Theresa May triggered Article 50, and yet Tory ministers appear stunned and unprepared when obvious issues arise."

"We need to know immediately from the Government what its strategy is to protect jobs in the finance sector, because all we have witnessed so far is silent bewilderment."

A Government spokesman said: "London is a global financial hub and we are determined to maintain the City's leading position as we prepare for negotiations to leave the EU.

"That's why the Government is working closely with the financial services sector to understand the issues affecting it and ensure we get the best deal for Britain.

"We want financial services to continue to thrive here and we stand ready to help the industry maximise the opportunities that leaving the EU presents."