British banks are living in the past, and need to be pragmatic and step up their No Deal preparations now and embrace the opportunities it will unleash should it be the outcome of the current negotiations on December 31st, argues Jayne Adye, Director of Get Britain Out

The other week the Governor of the Bank of England, Andrew Bailey, warned senior banking executives of Britain's biggest banks and financial institutions, including Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland, of the need to step up their No Deal Brexit preparations. Mr Bailey stated: "As we have said previously, the possibility that negotiations between the UK and EU over a future trading relationship might not conclude in a deal is one of a number of outcomes that banks need to prepare for over the coming months."

This would have sounded justified had it been four years ago, when the United Kingdom voted to Leave the European Union. However, this is not four years ago, it's now June, 2020 and while the possibility of No Deal is more likely than ever, these preparations should have been put in place well in advance.

Through the fault of democratically perverse politicians, time was bought and Brexit was delayed repeatedly, so the justification for this statement is unfounded. The banks have had lots of time to safeguard British taxpayers' savings and investments against the possible risks of a No Deal Brexit.

Perhaps the banks have been preparing all this time and the Bank of England was simply producing one of its political jibes at the electorate. Could this be in a similar vein to those comments made throughout the EU Referendum campaign – to scare the British public into voting a certain way, or to apply pressure on the Government in office to maintaining the status quo? Under the previous Governor, Mark Carney, it seemed we only heard him as a proprietor of Project Fear!

Doomsday forecasts and apocalyptic recessions – this manipulation worked under the premiership of Remain-focussed Prime Ministers, Theresa May and David Cameron, resulting in bad deals and delays. However, the will of the Great British Public must prevail.

Similar manipulations have been the evidence needed to label the Bank of England as part of the elitist 'Remain' establishment. Consistently having advocated for 'Remain', the Bank of England had previously encompassed vested interests by seeming to stay under the flag of the EU, because the Bank would have preferred to maintain the free movement of people and to keep wages low while keeping the UK tied to the 'Level Playing Field' – essentially outsourcing their job of managing the economy. With lower wages and a less competitive economy, inflation becomes less volatile. The Bank of England's primary target has been to maintain the rate of inflation at 2% – which, be in no doubt, would provide the fat cats with a nice bonus should they meet it ? for the last 12 months the average has been 1.63%.

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More evidence of the Bank of England's well-held footing in Europe arrived last week. The Bank set up an emergency loan system to help big companies survive the Pandemic. This scheme totalled over £16 billion with absurdly low interest loans buying up short-term corporate debt at around 0.2-0.6%. The Bank did not reserve the scheme for domestic companies, as British Airways now threatens to cut 12,000 staff and reduce the pay of up to 60% of their UK-based workforce, having only received a £300 million loan. Meanwhile the Bank was busy handing out bigger loans to EU-based airlines like the Hungarian-owned Wizz Air and Irish-owned Ryanair totalling £900 million ? despite Ryanair's huge ?4 billion cash-reserves!

The biggest recipient of the loan scheme was BASF, the German chemical supergiant which was loaned £1 billion and Bayer received £600 million, just weeks after these German chemical giants announced payments of dividends totalling £2.75 billion to their (mainly German) shareholders. If Bayer and BASF enjoy such high liquidity levels which permitted them to hand out £2.75 billion in cash to their shareholders during a worldwide Pandemic and a contracting German economy, why on earth did they need assistance from the Bank of England and why was it given?!

Littered within the recipient list, just like BASF, are European business giants who pay tax in the UK disproportionately as they're based in the EU and the Bank's rules only requires foreign companies to be of 'some economic benefit to the UK'. We can be certain a No Deal Brexit may make it harder for the Bank of England to loan UK taxpayers' cash to EU companies ? or recover it ? in the future!

While some companies which contribute massively to the British economy, like Virgin, BP and Britain's flag carrier airline, British Airways, clip their wings to survive the Pandemic, Virgin is to cut 3,000 jobs, BP up to 2,000 and British Airways has announced it will cut many thousands of UK-based jobs. Our Bank of England is prioritising bailing out EU-based firms, which suggests the Bank isn't quite finished with trying to back-track on Brexit ? even though we have a new Governor!

It wouldn't be surprising if British banks haven't been preparing for a No Deal Brexit. They have consistently been irresponsible, perhaps feeling a sense of immunity after the ramifications of their misconduct and lackadaisical approach during the 2008 financial crisis, when 6.2% of GDP was shaven off the UK's economy ? after which the banks were bailed out by the Government to the tune of half a trillion pounds. This should have been a lesson learnt.

Perhaps British banks and financial institutions are still living in the past. If so, they need to be pragmatic and step up their No Deal preparations now and embrace the opportunities it will unleash should it be the outcome of the current negotiations on December 31st, rather than having to manage the regulatory changes when it's too late. I believe this outcome would be good for the United Kingdom, as we would be free from the shackles of the EU. However, many businesses would benefit from a good Free Trade Agreement with the EU ? especially those which trade with many EU countries, but only the right FTA ? one which would not shackle the UK to the EU's rules and regulations now we have finally left the EU.

With the recent news the Bank of England ? no doubt encouraged by the Remain-backing bankers ? is now considering negative interest rates (so we pay for them to look after our money!). We must Get Britain Out of the Transition Period without any more delay. The British electorate has been let down for far too long. The Bank of England needs to take a step into the future and take greater responsibility for our future, rather than just lining its own pockets. It must be ready for Brexit on time and support UK businesses – this time is almost running out.

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