UK's Hammond says economy should be priority in Brexit talks

The chancellor said the British negotiating team would be open to ideas from their counterparts in Brussels as to how best to maintain economic prosperity ahead of the opening of negotiations between the European Union and the United Kingdom on Monday.

In his annual address to City leaders at Mansion House today, Mr Hammond will say: "Investors need certainty in order to continue to support the United Kingdom economy and create jobs as we leave the EU".

If these are taken away post-Brexit, then London could cease to be the most important financial centre in Europe, costing the United Kingdom thousands of jobs and billions in revenues.

Speaking ahead of a meeting with other European Union leaders in Brussels on Friday, Mr Hammond said: "We've set out very clearly our desired outcome in the Prime Minister's Lancaster House speech and in the Article 50 letter that we've sent".

"My clear view, and I believe the view of the majority of people in Britain, is that we should prioritize protecting jobs, protecting economic growth, protecting prosperity as we enter those negotiations and take them forward", he said.

But his planned address, and that of Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, was cancelled because of the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy.

The Chancellor declined to comment on whether he supported Britain's continued membership of the EU single market or customs union.

"I can confirm as we enter the negotiations next week we will do so in the spirit of honest cooperation taking a pragmatic approach trying to find a solution that works both for the United Kingdom and the European Union at 27", Hammond said Friday.

Unidentified sources told the newspaper that Hammond will urge the government to rethink its plan to leave the trade group, which guarantees tariff-free trade with other members but bans trade deals with third parties.

  • Leroy Wright