JML tycoon John Mills: City not under serious threat of relocation to continent


Millionaire tycoon and Labour donor John Mills has insisted that the City is not under threat from Brexit and has backed the Tory government's stance on tackling immigration.

Brexit-backing Mr Mills, the founder of gadgets firm JML, told the Press Association that it is unlikely firms in Britain's lucrative financial services sector will relocate to the continent.

"The City is not under serious threat of relocation to Frankfurt or Paris.

"Only 10% of City's revenue comes from the EU, and it's in the EU's interests to have a strong City, it's not a one-way street," he said.

Anthony Browne, chief executive of the British Bankers' Association, warned last week that bank bosses have their hands ''poised quivering over the relocate button'' following the referendum result.

Concerns have centred on membership of the single market and whether Britain will continue to have access to the bank passporting system.

Mr Mills did concede that the Square Mile is under pressure, but by financial centres further afield in Hong Kong, Singapore and New York.

The tycoon said he favours a scenario in which the UK is outside the single market but with access to it via a free trade agreement.

He added that he is content with the way the economy has reacted since the vote, despite the pound collapsing by around 20% against the dollar to 1.22.

"The economy has responded pretty well, there have been ups and downs, but the ups have been substantial, so I'm not too worried.

"Consumer demand has held up, investment on the whole has held up, exports have increased.

"The British economy has bigger problems than Brexit, such as high debt and low growth."

He even called for the pound to take a further beating in order to boost manufacturing.

"I think Brexit provides us with great opportunities, in particular the low pound and exports. We should get the pound down and keep it down. It needs to be at 1.10 US dollars to get manufacturing back on its feet.

"Manufacturing accounts for 10% of GDP, I want that to be 15%."

The businessman, one of Labour's biggest donors, also sounded the alarm bell on immigration.

"We have 550,000 people a year coming into the country, putting pressure on schools and hospitals and other services.

"Something needs to be done, and Labour must recognise this too."