Philipp Hammond, the British chancellor, informed business leaders today that delays to Brexit were harming the economy of the United Kingdom, however, he reassured them that progress was being made.
At the Innovate Finance Global Summit that was held in London, Philip Hammond told the audience: “I know that nearly three years on from the referendum, the ongoing uncertainty is bad for business and that every one of you in this room would have wanted us to have resolved this issue many months ago.”
He added: “The truth, I’m afraid, is that democracy is a messy business. As Churchill noted, it’s the worst form of government except for every other form that’s ever been tried.”
During the two-day conference, Hammond spoke as he showcased the fintech sector of the United Kingdom to the world, drawing attendees from Hong Kong, Singapore, Bahrain, and beyond.
The chancellor stated: “The question for us is how to maintain our advantage in fintech in an increasingly competitive and globalised world? Of course, I recognise that the immediate key to doing so is to ensure we ratify the Brexit deal with the European Union and do it soon.”
In the past, Hammond has admitted that the delays to leaving the European Union were denting growth. However, his remarks today were among the firmest admissions from the Chancellor that the Brexit negotiations are providing a drag on the UK economy.
The United Kingdom was initially scheduled to leave the European Union on the 29th of March this year, however, the exit date has twice been moved because of a failure to reach an agreement in the UK’s parliament over the withdrawal deal. Britain is now set to leave on the 31st of October.
Business leaders have repeatedly cautioned that the ongoing Brexit uncertainty is harming investment and business activity.
Hammond was initially scheduled to speak at the Innovate Finance conference last Monday, however, it was delayed because of cross-party talks in Westminster regarding Brexit.
Today, Hammond said: “We’re reaching out across the House to try and build the majority we need, which is the right way and I think the only way to proceed in a parliamentary democracy,”
He added: “I’m confident of the good faith of both sides in these discussions and that we will, one way or another, reach a resolution that will enable us to get the deal through parliament so we can stop talking about Brexit and get on with the business of business.”