Among them is Roland Rudd, the City insider who is the chairman of the communications firm Finsbury (which represents such clients as BSkyB, Marks and Spencer and the mining giant Glencore), and the founder of a pro-EU group called Business for New Europe. He reminds me that such US-owned financial institutions as Bank of America, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley are said to be considering leaving London if Britain quits Europe. Should it happen, he thinks this would only be the start. “Our financial centre would get hollowed out,” he says. “There are around 500 banks that have their headquarters here, and without a passport to operate throughout Europe in the form of the single market, they simply can’t be here. Financial services represents about 10% of GDP; if that was threatened, it would be deeply, deeply damaging.”
Financial services as 10% of UK GDP is correct. But that’s the entire financial sector: pensions, car insurance, the lot. The wholesale sector, the part that might (might! Don’t forget that there’s a vast amount of dollar work done in London. Offshore centres can be successful) be affected by EU membership is around 4% of GDP.
And seriously, we’ll all stop buying car insurance if we leave the EU?
Rudd’s lying here.