LONDON (Reuters) - British controls on immigration following the country’s referendum decision to leave the European Union must not be damaging for the economy, finance minister Philip Hammond was quoted as saying in the Daily Telegraph story on Friday.
Hammond told newspaper that Britain would use any new immigration powers “responsibly” in comments that could ease concerns among investors that the country might be heading for an acrimonious divorce with its main trading partners in the EU.
“We’ve got to be clear about one thing – there’s an implicit term of the mandate we received from the British people,” Hammond said in an interview with the newspaper.
“It may not have been stated explicitly but it’s implicit. And that is that they do not want to see the economy suffer.”
Britain faces the challenge of securing a new trading deal with the EU while also giving London more control over migration from the bloc, potentially falling foul of the EU’s freedom of movement principle that is key for accessing its single market.
The value of sterling, which tumbled more than 10 percent against the U.S. dollar and the euro after the Brexit vote in June, has weakened in recent days on concerns among investors that Britain might be heading for a “hard” exit from the EU.
Japanese carmaker Nissan said this week it was worried about potential barriers to its exports from the country after the decision to leave the EU.
“The message that I want to send to business is that whatever solution we end up, whatever control powers we have over immigration into the UK, we will use them responsibly,” Hammond told the Daily Telegraph.
“We will use them in a way that supports the UK economy and we will certainly not use them to shut out highly-skilled people – whether they are bankers or software engineers or managers in global companies – out from the UK when their presence is supporting inward investment and growth in our economy.”
Writing by William Schomberg; Editing by Diane Craft