Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Business Fights Back against Brexit 'Doom and Gloom'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Business Fights Back against Brexit 'Doom and Gloom'

Article excerpt

Byline: Pippa Crerar and Jim Armitage

BUSINESS leaders today issued a rallying call for London to seize the opportunities created by Britain leaving the European Union.

Senior executives, many of whom supported staying in the EU, said now was the time for the capital to "stand up" in the world.

A dozen business chiefs, from sectors including banking, property and tourism, warned against too much "doom and gloom" about Brexit, saying there was a danger it could lead to a downward spiral, and Londoners should focus on positive possibilities instead.

At an event hosted by the Standard, they drew up a 10-point manifesto to create a better city for all. The effort would be led by a taskforce made up of "plumbers and poets and business and media" from all sections of society.

Ashok Vaswani, UK chief executive of Barclays, said: "If we all collectively knock down the country then obviously it gets into a negative spiral. If we can maintain a kind of evenness I think we should generally speaking be okay.

"This is an opportunity to really step out and say, hey, we are bigger than how we feel. There is a real opportunity to break through a psychological barrier and say we want to stand up in the world. I would say I'm cautious -- obviously we've got to step up -- but it's definitely not all doom and gloom."

Jayne-Anne Gadhia, chief executive of Virgin Money, said: "I was a strong supporter of Remain, but given where we are I've definitely got to a place four weeks on where we've got to talk about the positives. It's not going to go away.

"I worry that we create a self-fulfilling circle of negativity unless we work out together how to get something good."

Rhydian Lewis, chief of financial technology company RateSetter, said Brexit was "worrying, but it's stimulating too", while Leon restaurants founder John Vincent added: "This is really exciting, I think we needed a kick up the arse. …

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