Chancellor Philip Hammond this week made clear that the Government would take decisive steps to ensure Britain remained attractive to global businesses, even if it was unable to achieve the trading relationship it wanted following Brexit negotiations.
Mr Hammond, who was at the World Economic Forum in Davos yesterday, said he was keen to demonstrate to his fellow delegates that the UK remained very much “open for business.”
He echoed comments made by Theresa May on Tuesday about the desire to do a deal which preserves close ties with the continent, in spite of confirmation that Britain would be leaving the single market.
But in what has been seen as a clear warning to other European countries, Mr Hammond reiterated previous statements that the UK would be prepared to cut rates of corporation tax further if it felt it was being marginalised by other members of the EU.
“We have to remain competitive,” he said. “The best way to do that is to have a comprehensive trading relationship with the European Union, our closest neighbours.
“But if we can’t achieve that then we will have to find other ways to maintain our competitiveness, because our first obligation of government is to make sure that our people are able to maintain their standard of living.”
Mr Hammond said that various models were being considered and generally struck an optimistic tone about the forthcoming Brexit talks – which are set to formally begin within the next few months.
“We want to go on being that kind of open, welcoming society which people choose as a venue to do their business,” he said.
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