Audit firms ‘overlooked’ in Brexit talks

Accountancy and audit firms are being “overlooked” in Brexit trade negotiations, according to a report published by the government’s EU Services Sub-Committee.

In their inquiry into Brexit’s impact on the UK’s professional and business services, MPs determined that various industries have been left out of trade talks.

The committee acknowledged the sector as “vital to the UK’”, citing the estimated £224.8bn and 4.6m jobs it adds to the country’s economy.

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Baroness Rita Donaghy, the committee’s chair, said: “Professional business services are a vital part of the UK’s economy, more than four and a half million jobs depend on this sector and it contributes almost £225 billion to our economy.

“This sector, and the people who depend on it for their livelihoods, will suffer if its needs are not reflected in the UK’s negotiations with the EU. We are concerned that they have been overlooked in the negotiations so far.”

She added: “A free trade agreement on services is no silver bullet, but there are a number of areas that both sides need to get right to limit potential barriers to trade. 

“It is essential that issues such as EU Member State national reservations to the agreement, the mutual recognition of professional qualifications and business mobility are dealt with properly in a future UK-EU agreement. These barriers to trade must be prevented.”

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