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Brexit panic: Now City of London fears banker exodus after crippling petrol shortage

express– The analysis, by TheCityUK, the City of London Corporation and consultancy firm EY will make worrying reading for Chancellor Rishi Sunak, given its suggestion of a looming shortage of bankers to go with the shortage of HGV drivers which has necessitated army tankers being tasked with delivering petrol supplies to filling stations. Specifically, the report, a follow-up to one published a year ago, touts the importance of “skilled, multinational and multilingual workers” with foreign workers currently making up 19.5 percent of those employed within the financial services sector, rising to 42 percent in FinTech.

Miles Celic, chief executive officer of TheCityUK, said: “Talent is consistently the number one issue that comes up when we talk to our companies.

“London, and the rest of the UK, is really dependent on being able to attract talent from overseas.

“Could there be a crunch point? Of course there could.

“This is absolutely fundamental to our long-term success.”

Co-author Seema Farazi, a global immigration partner at EY, explained: “The challenge is that EU nationals are now in the immigration system.

“The full impact has not been felt because the volumes have been muted by the pandemic.”

The new landscape also poses big challenges for employers, who would need to pay £21,000 to move a worker, their partner and two children to the UK for five years in line with the Tier 2 visa process, previous estimates by the City of London Corporation and EY have suggested.

The report highlights “the gap in the system for short-term business travel” as another cause for concern.

It explains: “A relatively minor shift in activities often results in a drastic increase to the cost, timescale and administration associated with compliance with the immigration regime and there is no middle ground between visitor status and a work visa.”

Consequently it recommends the creation of “a hybrid short-term stream within the new Global Business Mobility Route to allow employees to enter the UK for short-term productive activity without a work visa”.

A foreword to the report written by Mr Celic and Catherine McGuinness, chairwoman of the City of London Corporation’s Policy and Resources Committee said: “The benefits that the UK gains from being a leading financial centre are immense.

“The industry contributes over 10 percent of the UK’s total economic output, is the country’s largest taxpayer and biggest exporting industry, and employs more than 2.3 million people, two thirds outside London.”

The industry was also “an enabler of wider economic prosperity”, they explained, investing in businesses in all sectors across the country so that they can employ more people and achieve their growth ambitions.

However, Mr Cilic and Ms McGuinness warned: “This formidable achievement needs continual renewal, especially as other financial centres take steps to catch up with the UK and secure the wide-ranging and significant benefits of being at the forefront of global finance.

“To ensure the continued competitiveness of the UK as a financial centre, UK policymakers need to ensure that its businesses enjoy unrivalled access to the most important source of future growth available: the best of global talent.”

Army tanker drivers are taking to the roads for the first time to deliver supplies to beleaguered petrol stations hit by the fuel crisis.

Roughly 200 military personnel – half of them drivers – are being deployed in Operation Escalin, despite ministers insisting the situation at the pumps was easing.

The troops – who have been on standby since the start of last week – will initially be concentrated in London and the South East, where the worst shortages remain.

They include members of 3rd Logistic Support Regiment who have been training with the petroleum industry logistics company Hoyers in Thurrock in Essex.

Ministers have faced criticism for not sending them out earlier after a wave of panic-buying – prompted by reports that supplies to filling stations were being hit – led to chaos on the forecourts and lengthy queues on the surrounding streets.

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