UK success in the services industry hinges on the free flow of workers, a London business leaders group told talks on the future of Britain in Europe.
Speaking at a debate hosted by think tank, Britain in Europe, London First said it is now crucial to iron out the immigration issue.
“The flow of people is inseparable from the success of the UK services industry,” London First’s William Higham told leading academics and business leaders at Brunel University London."
London businesses have a large proportion of staff from the EU, he said. “A Shoreditch start-up tech company might have 70 staff and 30 of them are from the EU and fly back to be with their families over the weekend. If there’s one thing the UK government can do to show it is looking ahead in good faith, it would be reassure EU citizens in the UK their rights will be protected here.”
“Service is a huge part of the economy and one of our most successful service industries in this country is higher education,” he noted, saying about 80 per cent of students will be looking to move into the service industry.
The London First spokesman appeared alongside spokespeople from Nat West, accountants PwC and a string of experts in politics, security and law to talk risks and opportunities post-Brexit.
“There’s a strong willingness to explore the many questions left unanswered by the EU referendum debate, and an urgent need for guidance about the way forward,” said Britain in Europe Director, Dr Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos. “Otherwise there is a significant risk that invaluable links with Europe will be broken”.
• Britain in Europe launches policy report, Brexit: Opportunities, Challenges and the Road Ahead on October 25, at the British Academy. For details, contact firstname.lastname@example.org