Hammond Warns of Rollercoaster Brexit Years for Business; Hammond: I'll Work to Boost Confidence in UK

The Evening Standard (London, England), October 3, 2016 | Go to article overview

Hammond Warns of Rollercoaster Brexit Years for Business; Hammond: I'll Work to Boost Confidence in UK


Byline: Joe Murphy Political Editor

PHILIP HAMMOND braced businesses for a "rollercoaster" journey when Theresa May starts the Brexit countdown next year.

The Chancellor's warning of a white-knuckle ride caused the pound to dip against the euro and the dollar.

He vowed to intervene wherever he could to counteract the "turbulence" that could last through the uncertainty of the two-year negotiations on a new trading relationship with the European Union.

However, he warned that despite apparently good economic statistics in the summer, experts were still expecting four per cent to be cut from UK growth, spread over several years.

In his big speech to the Conservative conference in Birmingham, Mr Hammond -- who campaigned for Remain -- was to announce that billions of pounds more in EU grants and subsidies to major projects, industry and research will be protected after Brexit, in a attempt to avoid damage.

He was planning to say that his move would give "some additional certainty" to businesses and other organisations bidding for EU funding over the next two years. Last month he promised Continued on Page 4 Continued from Page 1 to guarantee existing funding, but the latest announcement means that new deals will be honoured too.

Mr Hammond's sober assessment contrasted with Mrs May's boast that the "sky has not fallen in" since the June vote for Brexit. He said: "We must expect some turbulence as we go through this negotiating process.

"There will be a period of a couple of years or perhaps even longer when businesses are uncertain about the final state of our relationship with the EU.

"During that period, we need to support the economy to make sure that consumer confidence remains, to make sure that business confidence is stable, so we get the investments that keeps the jobs that keep Britain going."

He said Mrs May's promise to trigger Article 50 -- which starts the process of withdrawing from the EU -- by the end of March next year was likely to cause a stormy period, as firms and traders speculate on how the talks are going.

"We have to expect a period when confidence will go up and down -- perhaps on a bit of a rollercoaster -- until we get to a final agreement," he said. …

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