- Reuters / Eddie Keogh
- “There has been no appreciable stance within the vast majority of the industry … for some sort of bonfire of the regulations,” TheCityUK’s chief executive Miles Celic told Business Insider.
LONDON – There is no appetite for a “bonfire” of EU regulations when Britain leaves the EU, according to the chief executive of a group which represents the UK’s vast financial services sector.
Miles Celic, chief executive of TheCityUK, told Business Insider that the vast majority of industry and government opposed an approach in which Britain pitched itself as a low-regulation tax haven in a bid to attract banks and financial firms after Brexit, a model thought to be favoured by some Cabinet ministers.
“Whenever we go to Brussels or to member states on the delegations that we lead for the industry, this always comes up, and we are always very clear,” Celic said. “There has been no appreciable stance within the vast majority of the industry, within government, or among British regulators, for some sort of bonfire of the regulations.”
Celic said the UK is “more famous for gold-plating EU regulations than casting them aside,” describing a process in which the UK has chosen to chosen to go further than the EU requires when adding a new European law to its own statute books, often in response to trade union pressure.
Britain has gold-plated a wide range of EU legislation during its membership of the bloc, including rules related to temporary workers, maternity and parental leave, and retirement ages.
The government’s Great Repeal Bill means Britain will initially keep all EU law on its own statute books before it drops individual pieces of legislation as it sees fit, although some Cabinet ministers favour a different approach.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is reportedly leading demands that Britain instead pursues a “bottom-up” approach to regulatory divergence which starts with a blank sheet of paper and opts in to a limited amount of EU regulation.
TheCityUK favours an approach described as “mutual regulatory recognition,” under which the EU and Britain would broadly accept firms in each other’s markets because their regulatory systems were broadly similar. There would likely be a dispute resolution authority which arbitrated when one system moved to diverge from another.
Celic said the mutual recognition was “not a mechanism for divergence.”
“It’s a mechanism for managing alignment and where necessary, to manage any divergence that may happen,” he said.