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Finance can be 'engine' of UK recovery post-COVID

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Saleha Riaz
·2-min read
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A new report identified trade protectionism and regional disparities as critical challenges facing the UK economy. Photo: Getty Images
A new report identified trade protectionism and regional disparities as critical challenges facing the UK economy. Photo: Getty Images

The financial services industry has a crucial role to play in the UK’s economic recovery from the pandemic and Brexit, a new report has argued.

TheCityUK, an organisation that represents UK-based financial and professional services, on Wednesday night published a report setting out ‘A Roadmap for Economic Recovery’. It called on government to prioritise service-based trade deals and investment-friendly policies as the pandemic begins to pass.

"Throughout this pandemic, our industry has been a shock absorber, giving people and businesses help and support to endure the economic impact of COVID-19," Miles Celic, chief at TheCityUK, said.

"As we move to the next phase of rebuilding and growth, our industry also has a key role to play as an engine for the recovery."

The report set out a wide range of policy recommendations and interventions. These include increased action on diversity, doubling down on mentoring, youth and mobility schemes and a greater focus to upskilling and reskilling.

Th report also made recommendations to government. It identified trade protectionism as a critical challenge facing the economy and called on the government to put digital trade at the heart of post-Brexit free trade agreements.

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The report urged the government to relax rules currently preventing small businesses from raising capital and to invest in regional infrastructure and digital identity tools.

TheCityUK called on regulators to prioritise pro-recovery and investment measures and said the government should encourage countries to coordinate COVID-19 economic policy measures.

The report said government and industry must work in partnership to advance sustainability goals and ensure the right incentive structures are in place to promote sustainable investments.

Tax policy changes should be clear, consistent and developed through consultation with industry to continue to attract businesses to the UK, TheCityUK said.

According to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published earlier this week, Britain's economy grew marginally in February despite continued lockdown restrictions. The ONS estimated UK GDP grew by 0.4% in February.

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