Saturday 7 December 2019

PwC boss doubts many firms will quit UK over Brexit

Swiss police officers on guard in Davos (AP/Michel Euler)
Swiss police officers on guard in Davos (AP/Michel Euler)

The chairman of global accounting and consulting firm PwC said he doubts that many companies will leave Britain after the country exits the European Union.

Speaking in the Swiss ski resort of Davos ahead of the official start of the World Economic Forum, Bob Moritz said he had not seen any institutions leave and that he does not expect them to do so "any time soon".

However, Mr Moritz said his firm is advising its many clients to be "thoughtful" and to engage in "scenario planning".

Prime Minister Theresa May is due to outline her vision of Britain's post-EU future on Tuesday.

The British pound fell around 1% on Monday on worries that Mrs May will make it clear that her Government is prepared to leave the EU's single market during the upcoming Brexit discussions.

That has prompted speculation that firms will ditch Britain in favour of a base within the single market.

The World Economic Forum, which organises the annual gathering of the global political and business elites in Davos, said the focus on economic growth, which has guided policy-making for decades, is no longer fit for purpose.

In a report published on Monday, the WEF proposed a shift in policy-making to "respond more effectively to the insecurity and inequality accompanying technological change and globalisation".

The WEF's main recommendation was that governments make improving living standards one of their key goals.

It said most countries are "missing important opportunities to raise economic growth and reduce inequality at the same time", adding that measurements such as life expectancy, productivity and poverty rates should be priorities.

Under a new ranking system that incorporates so-called "inclusive development", the WEF rated Norway top, followed by Luxembourg and Switzerland.

The issue of inequalities both within countries and across the world is a key focus of this year's WEF, which officially opens on Tuesday.


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