London’s Evening Standard splashed on Friday evening with a story claiming Britain leaving the European Union — Brexit — would cost the city 100,000 banking jobs, but the UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader has rubbished the idea.
Speaking to Breitbart London, Nigel Farage compared the claim to previous scare stories that predicted the end of Britain’s lucrative financial industry if the country didn’t obediently fall into line with the European Union’s latest trends.
Mr. Farage said: “these are the same people who bankrupt Britain and said they would all leave the country if we didn’t join the Euro. Guess what – they’re still here”.
— ⓒⓕ (@cfmcfc) November 27, 2015
The Evening Standard story relied on the testimony of one “board level banker” who told the paper he had “estimated” the staff levels of some banks could fall by half if Britain left the European Union. The banker, who declined to be named, claimed foreign-owned banks would depart Britain in droves were the nation to vote for Brexit. He said:
“I don’t think people here have any idea just how much the other European centres would love to have the jobs and tax revenues we bring to London.
“We get approaches all the time from Europeans saying ‘please move here, we’ll give you tax breaks’.”
The Financial Times, one of Britain’s most pro Europe newspapers was active in the previous decade in the campaign to get Britain to join the Euro common currency, serving up many of the scare stories to which Mr. Farage referred. One particularly forthright 2008 article published by the pink paper told readers:
“The case for the UK shedding sterling and adopting the euro has never been clearer.
“From a conventional macroeconomic perspective, there is no reasonable argument for a small, highly open economy such as Britain’s to retain monetary independence… There is another powerful argument for adopting the euro.
“The UK has a large financial and banking sector, which conducts much of its activity buying and selling financial instruments denominated in foreign currencies, not in sterling… If London wants to remain the world’s financial capital, there is only one choice for the UK: adopt the euro now and wonder why it did not do so in 1999”.
Such sentiments have since been proven spectacularly wrong, but the latest Evening Standard suggests such arguments have not vanished, but simply refocussed onto new issues — such as Britain leaving the European Union.