Brexit hopes and fears mingle amid the aftershocks

The earthquake that was the referendum result on whether the UK should stay or go out of the European Union is still sending out some aftershocks around the world. 

But amid the rubble of the crumbling facade of the EU’s relationship with the UK, some are finding their voices and breaking their silence.

For tech companies, it’s still unclear what Brexit will actually mean in practice — too many things are too open to speculation. But opinions are being expressed.

In a blog post, Thiago Kiwi of the London School of Business and Finance says: “Britain’s tech companies are putting expansion plans on hold following the UK’s exit from the European Union.

“Companies are now concerned about how the loss of access to European markets could affect the UK’s financial technology sector, with some considering moving to a continental location.”

Kiwi quotes survey results which indicated that 70 per cent of businesses in the UK technology sector wanted to stay in the EU, with just 15 per cent wanting to leave.

In London, the figure for those wanting to stay were even higher — at 87 per cent — and the percentage who wanted to leave was 3 per cent.

Such is the chasm between what London wanted out of the referendum and what the rest of the country got that some people in the capital are calling for London to break away from the rest of the UK.

A YouGov survey that showed that 11 per cent of Londoners are mad enough or angry enough or both to want London to become a separate country.

Tanya Abraham, of YouGov, says the poll is not necessarily a sign of the famous British sense of humour, touched with a little eccentricity. “If people start losing their jobs and London’s economy is severely dented then support for a split could grow,” she says.

And while no one wants to fan the flames of fractiousness, especially when the irony is that it would be motivated by enthusiasm for unifying countries rather than dividing them, worrying reports are emerging of job losses potentially caused by Brexit.

As reported in Independent.co.uk, Boston Consulting Group claims that up to 80,000 banking and finance jobs could be moved from London to within Europe. BCG claims that its conclusions are drawn from a survey of 360 leading bankers in the UK, France, Germany and the US.

Whether such fears are unfounded or not, approximately 48 per cent of people in the UK voted to remain in the EU. And while they lost the vote by a few percentage points, some of them have not given up the fight.

TheGuardian.com is reporting what are believed to be the first legal attempts to stop Brexit by arguing that any formal exit from the EU must be authorised by parliament, not by any individual politician, not even the prime minister.

Among the law firms involved is the fancy sounding Mishcon de Reya, which probably charges a small fortune for dealing with a property sale.

Speaking of property, and on a lighter note, US fund manager Madison International has set aside £1 billion to invest in London property.

Madison founder Ronald Dickerman told the Financial Times: “We think the timing is perfect and we are looking to deploy a disproportionate amount of this fund into London.”

Inward investment as well as export sales are likely to go up — at least in the short term — as the pound falls in value against international currencies.

Pinewood Studios, where the Bond films as well as Star Wars epics are made, could be one of the more well-known businesses which benefits.

As reported in TheGuardian.com, Ivan Dunleavy, Pinewood’s chief executive, says: “In the context of our business, the decline in the sterling exchange rate is undoubtedly positive for our international customers.”

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