Britain’s economic fundamentals are strong enough to weather any short-term market volatility, Business Secretary Sajid Javid said today as he appealed to UK businesses not to be “panicky” after the shock Brexit vote.
“Now it’s a time for reassurance for business, and my message to them ever since Friday morning is there’s no need to be panicking at all,” Javid said as investors braced for another day of heavy selling when markets reopen tomorrow.
The 46-year-old Pakistani-origin Conservative Party politician sought to sooth business leaders’ concerns in his first public appearance since the result of the June 24 referendum was announced last Friday.
“We have to have a calm approach, which is what we’ve seen since then,” said Javid, who backed a Remain vote.
Javid said he will hold a meeting on Tuesday with business leaders following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, the country’s No.1 trade partner.
Javid said his message to businesses was “there’s no need to be panicking”.
The UK’s economic fundamentals are strong enough to weather any short-term market volatility, he said.
He added that the UK should not rush into talks with the EU about its withdrawal from the 28-nation bloc.
Among the two dozen business leaders attending will be the heads of the British Chambers of Commerce, the Confederation of British Industry and the Federation of Small Businesses, a spokesman for the Business Department said.
Pushed on when the UK should start the process of leaving the EU, Javid said the UK does not need to immediately trigger Article 50, which sets a two-year deadline for a deal.
Javid was also pushed on his predictions during the referendum campaign that half a million jobs would be lost due to a Leave vote.
“I lost the argument, but we all come together to make this work for the country,” he said.
Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said it would be “catastrophic” if the UK lost its access to Europe’s single market
Hammond said there would have to be a “trade-off” between migration and access to the single market.
It is essential the UK protects its access to the single market, and to lose it would be “catastrophic”, the foreign secretary told ITV.
London’s big finance firms are looking at plans to move thousands of staff abroad if Britain leaves the single market. The single market allows many businesses to trade without tariffs in the EU.
The FTSE 100 index of Britain’s largest companies, which shed 120 billion pounds in value at one point on Friday, is forecast to open down 2.8 per cent on Monday morning, a loss worth tens of billions of pounds, the Guardian reported.
Stock markets around the world fell sharply on Friday following the June 24 referendum result and businesses said they would be forced to review their UK operations, putting thousands of jobs at risk.