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UK Service Industry

Volume 645: debated on Thursday 19 July 2018

7. What plans he has to negotiate for the retention of market access for EU service providers as part of the future partnership between the UK and the EU. (906541)

17. What steps he is taking to ensure that negotiations on the UK’s exit from the EU support the UK’s service industry. (906551)

The White Paper sets out a comprehensive vision for our partnership with the EU. For services, our ambitious and credible proposals include guaranteeing that suppliers and investors can operate across a broad number of sectors, enabling firms to establish cross-border services, ensuring that professionals continue to get their qualifications recognised, and establishing a new economic and regulatory partnership for financial services.

Successive British Governments have expended significant effort and time on negotiating a single market in services in the EU, achieving a 40% increase in services exports since 2010 as a result. How long does the Minister think that it will take to negotiate a similarly open market in services with other parts of the world, and what does he suggest my constituents working in insurance and IT do in the meantime?

The White Paper sets out a number of proposals for the services sector on how we can maintain those benefits, but we have also been growing our services trade with the rest of the world. The hon. Gentleman mentioned a 40% growth in trade with the EU, but there has been a 70% growth in UK services exports to countries outside the EU over the past decade. Our UK services industry is world leading and will continue to be as we go through this process.

In preparing for negotiations, a responsible Government would establish the impact on the services sector of both the Chequers agreement and no deal, so will the Minister confirm how the profitability, job creation potential and ability to export to the EU of the services sector would be affected if either the Chequers proposals or no deal were reached with the European Union?

The right hon. Gentleman will know that the UK has a world-leading services sector. As we have just discussed, it is exporting both to the EU and the rest of the world very successfully. Sadly, the single market in services was never completed. I think that our services sector will remain hugely profitable and a huge success story for the UK throughout this process.

The White Paper says repeatedly that on services, which make up 80% of the UK economy, the Government’s proposals will mean less market access for UK businesses to European markets compared with at present. Have the Government made an assessment of the impact of this lower level of market access, either on the volume of trade or the impact on jobs?

As the right hon. Gentleman will know, we have been engaging with businesses across the whole economy, which of course includes our world-leading services sector. It is clear that the advantages that make the services sector world leading are created here in the UK. We will make sure that the services sector has the right arrangements to continue to do business within Europe and to continue to have qualifications recognised but, of course, we are leaving the single market and there will be changes as a result.