Monday 11 December 2017

Warning post-Brexit London could become a 'casino city'

Noelle O Connell and Hans-Hartwig Blomeier at the conference
Noelle O Connell and Hans-Hartwig Blomeier at the conference
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

The UK could become a country of low taxes, low wages and London a casino city for Arab sheiks and Russian oligarchs post-Brexit, it has been warned.

The chair of the European Movement in Northern Ireland said the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union could also spell the end of the NHS and a hard Brexit could lead to a corporation tax rate lower than Ireland's 12.5pc offering.

Ian Parsley said there could be "managed immigration to deliberately try to attract particular people, people of high net worth".

"[There could be] low taxes, but also therefore low wages. You could end up with London becoming some sort of a casino type town for Arab sheiks and Russian oligarchs, creating a greater regional imbalance, and the people in the north of England who voted for Brexit actually suffer the most from it," Mr Parsley told a conference in Dublin organised by European Movement Ireland.

"You could certainly envisage the end of the NHS, you could certainly envisage severe cutbacks to the welfare system."

Hans-Hartwig Blomeier, London director of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung political foundation, said that Brexit was not a major issue in Germany, and that it will not be a talking point in September's federal election.

"The Brexit issue isn't at the moment a major issue in our political debate in Germany," Mr Blomeier said.

He said it would not be a talking point in the electoral campaign over the coming months.

"Brexit is not a campaign issue. So we care, but not that much. It is one of the problems, but it is not the problem," he said.

"That is a misunderstanding between London and Berlin - to think that Brexit is the most important issue and everything else is peripheral."

But he said he would bet that there would be a hard Brexit.

However, James MacCleary, campaign director at European Movement UK, said the political context in the UK had changed following the general election last week.

He said the discussion on Brexit had "changed greatly" as Conservative Party and Labour Party MPs were now talking about softer options.

"That's being spoken about quite openly by members of parliament who before the election we spoke to and they wouldn't even discuss or use the term soft Brexit for fear of being deselected by their local parties.

"It's incredible how quickly things have changed. So we've seen a significant shift already in the narrative," he said.

Irish Independent

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