(AFP) – Britain’s financial services paid a record amount in taxes last year, new figures revealed Tuesday, emphasising the sector’s importance as the country prepares to withdraw from the European Union.
The sector’s total tax contribution reached £71.4 billion (84.7 billion euros, $90.9 billion) in the year to March 31, up 7.4 percent on the previous year, the study by consultancy PwC for the City of London Corporation showed.
The figures represent 11.5 percent of the British government’s total tax receipts over the 12-month period and the equivalent of almost a quarter (23.3 percent) of financial services’ turnover.
The study, which covers the final full year before the June vote for Brexit, was published as the sector lobbies the government to maintain access to the European single market after Britain leaves the EU.
The powerful British Bankers Association warned recently that international banks based in Britain were ready to move some of their activities elsewhere starting early next year.
Finance minister Philip Hammond and Brexit minister David Davis on Monday met representatives of Britain’s banking, insurance, asset management and market infrastructure sectors to listen to their concerns.
In a joint statement afterwards, the ministers said: “Our financial services sector makes a crucial contribution to our economy and we will work together to ensure it continues as the hub for both Europe and the rest of the world.”
EU leaders have warned Prime Minister Theresa May that her intention to end freedom of movement from the bloc after Brexit means Britain cannot remain a member of the single market.
However, she has said she is seeking “maximum possible access” for British businesses, and ministers have indicated they may be willing to pay the EU for this.