Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

Bruges Group Blog

Spearheading the intellectual battle against the EU. And for new thinking in international affairs.

A hard look at the bright side


The rules that regulate the City of London are in the middle of a rewrite and risk-taking is on the agenda. With London having fallen behind competitors in the US and Asia in recent years, a post-Brexit refresh puts London in an ideal position to reposition itself once again as a world centre for finance.

The recent attempt by Rishi Sunak to convince SoftBank Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son to list Arm, one of the few globally prominent technology firms founded in the UK, back in the UK on the London Stock Exchange, has come to represent the difficulty the UK finds itself facing in keeping its homegrown tech firms from being lured away to greener pastures in New York, Hong Kong, or elsewhere.

There is, of course, encouraging news, including the steadfast action by the UK government in facilitating the HSBC acquisition of the UK arm of bank run-stricken Silicon Valley Bank, stemming any potential fallout for the moment. This speaks for the unlimited potentials of a sovereign, efficient, and speedy government. Less the bureaucracy or the multiple layers of politics that crowd an intergovernmental organisation – be it the EU – the UK government and the Bank of England, immediately recognising the urgency of the situation and the need to instil confidence in the $1 Trillion USD UK tech sector.

With the Edinburgh Reforms previously announced by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, and the Financial Services and Markets Bill currently being scrutinised by Parliament, and with it brings forth more opportunity for growth in the City away from the EU, the City is teeming with potential. From the pledge by the Chancellor to repeal EU legislation on European Long-Term Investment Funds (ELTIF) and the shift to the UK's Long-Term Asset Fund (LTAF), to a consultation to the VAT treatment of fund management – the UK government is signalling its long-awaited willingness to true, comprehensive reform of Financial Services regulation. The UK must do more to open up to global capital – but this is a start.

Around half a year ago, we were told Brexit was the root cause of all Britain's ills. Following the response to the September 2022 mini-budget, an element of schadenfreude clouded the remainer institutions and their pro-EU acolytes. 'They reap what they sow, and disaster they have sewn', may have well been their mantra. Of course, a lot of this commentary forgot that they themselves are not the kind to fashion long-term political trends at the whims of the international bond markets and would demur from even considering being within an arm's length of the 'fat cat' financial services they so condemn. The Irish Times columnist Stephen Collins described the bond market upheavals and the emergence of then-Prime Minister Liz Truss and then-Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng as a "logical conclusion of Brexit" - in other words, the drama in the bond markets had its roots in – you guessed it – Brexit. In the US, the left-leaning National Public Radio interviewed an FT journalist on Brexit, arguing that "very large elements" of Brexit were to blame for the existing turmoil. Financial turmoil? The root lies in – say it again – Brexit! It's reached a point that no overseas commentary on Britain can take place unless Brexit and the supposed cultural, economic, and political paralysis this democratically mandated withdrawal from the EU has wreaked upon the UK.

Now, things are looking better and the clouds of inflation and the deathly spiral it has caused in the UK – from strikes to political instability to continued rise in the cost of living – looks to be slowing. There is much work to be done, and much ambition needed in the process of long-term transformation and national rejuvenation, and long-term wounds cannot simply be fixed with Band Aid. But, while we're at discussing the economic aftermath of the withdrawal from the European Union – let's refute some of the misnomers.

With Brexit and its impact on the UK economy, it remains convenient and expedient to pick and choose forecasts and figures that suit a pet narrative, something those on the pro-Brexit side are often accused of. Over the past two years, it seems that every global issue affecting the UK under the sun, from the 2021 post-COVID supply chain crises, to the invasion of Ukraine ought to be blamed on Brexit.

Neither side ought to bet on a set of handpicked figures to advance what would be a borderline invisible pink unicorn argument.

In the short term, the decisions of this term of government – meaning the government since the 2019 election – are not causing ever-increasing inflation, and the supposed 'influx' of businesses flocking away from Brexit Britain is not making things worse. By the most optimistic of estimations for this year, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) could fall to 2.3% in November (according to Citibank) and possibly to 1.6% in December, according to Investec. Not taking in the speedy relaxation of restrictions in China and the impact this sudden boost in consumer spending may have, even the Guardian admits that the UK economy is set for a rebound.

One other fact to note is that, as of the time of writing, new reports of the German economy contracting have emerged alongside the OBR's forecasts that the United Kingdom will not enter a recession. Not only does this disprove the notion that Brexit in and of itself is the shot-in-the-foot to the national economy, but it shows the global economic slowdown is indeed global.

Britain is a nation geographically poised to have a prominent position in the cutting-edge fields of technology and finance. The government has already demonstrated its commitment as one that is conscientious of the need to stand up for tech entrepreneurs and stem the fallout of any catastrophes - as SVB UK has shown. 

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Director : Robert Oulds
Tel: 020 7287 4414
Chairman: Barry Legg
The Bruges Group
246 Linen Hall, 162-168 Regent Street
London W1B 5TB
United Kingdom
Founder President :
The Rt Hon. the Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven LG, OM, FRS 
Vice-President : The Rt Hon. the Lord Lamont of Lerwick,
Chairman: Barry Legg
Director : Robert Oulds MA, FRSA
Washington D.C. Representative : John O'Sullivan CBE
Founder Chairman : Lord Harris of High Cross
Head of Media: Jack Soames