Hammond heads to New York to win hearts and minds

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond has insisted he will meet the “specific needs” of the financial sector in an effort to reinforce London’s place as a financial centre ahead of Brexit negotiations.

Speaking to financiers in New York, Mr Hammond claimed US bankers’ operations would not be affected by proposals from Prime Minister Theresa May and Home Secretary Amber Rudd that have been interpreted as a crackdown on immigration – suggesting new rules would apply those at the bottom of the employment ladder.

Financial services provides have expressed concern at the potential impact of Brexit on their businesses, highlighting a need for business ‘passports’ to allow them to conduct operations in countries across Europe. Senior figures in the financial sector have suggested that without a deal on ‘passporting’, they might have to consider relocating their operations from the UK.

The Chancellor also moved to calm markets as the pound dropped to a 31-year low, insisting Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney was doing a “good job.” His comments followed speculation over the Bank’s future monetary policy after Theresa May highlighted “the bad side effects” of low interest rates and quantitative easing. Mr Hammond insisted the Governor’s actions had helped calm nerves since the referendum, with his appearance in New York also underlining government efforts to reassure the financial sector.