April 11, 2016 / 4:35 PM / 2 years ago

City of London says Brexit would hit growth

LONDON (Reuters) - Leaving the European Union would be a shock to Britain’s financial industry, threatening foreign investment and crimping growth, a leading City of London Corporation official said on Monday.

Mark Boleat, policy chairman for the municipal authority that runs the historic “square mile” financial district, said if Britain voted to leave the EU this would create unprecedented uncertainty.

“The uncertainty would hit the London market, the UK economy but also the global economy,” he said in a speech to the Institute of Actuaries. “The detrimental effects on the exchange rate - already apparent - interest rates, credit ratings, inward investment and economic activity generally would certainly trickle down to the consumer.”

Boleat said access to the EU single market was vital to the City. Last month, the corporation formally backed Britain remaining in the 28-country bloc. The vote takes place on June 23.

Supporters of Britain leaving the EU or Brexit have accused pro-EU campaigners of being alarmist, saying financial services would still thrive outside the bloc.

Boleat said no financial trade association has said Britain would be better off leaving the EU.

The British Bankers’ Association said in March that banks would suffer if Britain left the EU, but it has adopted a neutral position on the referendum.

Some companies are concerned that taking sides could alienate customers. But Boleat urged businesses to communicate the impact a Brexit would have in a “considered, rational, non-emotional way.”

“This is not a debate that business should sit out,” he said.

Reporting by Huw Jones. Editing by Jane Merriman

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