Brexit is now a national emergency, says CBI’s chief economist

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Sentiment and volumes are deteriorating sharply in the financial services sector, with a number of indicators at their lowest since the financial crisis of 2008, according to the latest CBI/PwC Financial Services Survey.

The quarterly survey of 84 firms found that optimism about the overall business situation in the financial services sector plunged sharply, falling at the quickest pace since December 2008.

Raine Newton-Smith, director of economics, CBI

Raine Newton-Smith, director of economics, CBI

Rain Newton-Smith, CBI chief economist, said: “The alarm bells ringing at the state of optimism in the financial services sector have now reached a deafening level. Not only has it plummeted at the fastest rate since the depths of the financial crisis, it has been falling or flat since the EU referendum. Additionally, business volumes and employment have fallen over the last quarter.

She added: “Brexit is now a national emergency. No deal has to be clearly ruled out, then MPs must finally compromise and deliver a solution that protects jobs, livelihoods and communities across the UK.

“It is in absolutely nobody’s interest for the uncertainty to drag on, and continually chip away at our economy and financial services sector.”

Andrew Kail, head of financial services at PwC, said: “Optimism has declined at the fastest rate since 2008.

“This is obviously cause for concern but the wider business story the industry is telling is one of resilience – a powerful endorsement from an industry which remains a cornerstone of the UK economy.”