David Davis has reassured City firms he has their concerns at heart before heading off to Brussels for the latest round of Brexit negotiations today.
“When I sit round the negotiating table with [EU chief negotiator] Michel Barnier, or round the cabinet table with my colleagues, it’s always with the importance of the City very much in my mind,” the Brexit secretary said last night, adding he was “determined to maintain the City’s competitiveness".
Speaking at an awards ceremony held by the City A.M. newspaper, Mr Davis said he wants to ensure employing EU citizens remains “as easy as possible” post-Brexit.
“While leaving the EU will allow us to bring back control of immigration, it won’t mean pulling up the drawbridge,” he said.
Relationships between the City and the Government have been strained in the wake of the Brexit referendum as some bosses have felt their interests have been overlooked in withdrawal negotiations.
But ministers have been attempting to reassure businesses in recent months. In September Mr Davis hosted FTSE bosses including RBS chairman Sir Howard Davies and London Stock Exchange boss Xavier Rolet at Chevening, the Kent residence of foreign secretary Boris Johnson.
On Wednesday the prime minister Theresa May and chancellor Philip Hammond met with JPMorgan chief executive Jamie Dimon in Downing Street.
After the meeting, the US bank put out a statement, which said: “While some uncertainty remains, we feel that the government understands the concerns of international firms such as ours, and the economy more broadly. We were grateful for better clarity on the government’s objectives in the Brexit negotiations.”
Talks between Mr Davis and Mr Barnier will resume today, with negotiations expected to remain focused on the scale of Britain’s exit bill, rights of EU citizens post-Brexit and the future of the Irish border.