Sandy Martin raises “unsexy” insurance industry in Commons

Sandy Martin is concerned about the impact of Brexit on the insurance industry. Picture: SEANA HUGH

Sandy Martin is concerned about the impact of Brexit on the insurance industry. Picture: SEANA HUGHES - Credit: Archant

Not every finance-related job is tied to the City of London – that was the message from Ipswich MP Sandy Martin after he asked a parliamentary question about Brexit in the House of Commons.

There are thousands of jobs tied to the insurance industry in Mr Martin’s constituency with employers including Axa, Willis, Direct Line and Churchill.

But Mr Martin warned the industry could be hit by Brexit – because services were not covered by the potential deal that the Prime Minister had recently negotiated.

He said: “This country has a surplus of almost £6bn with the rest of the EU, but because services were expressly excluded from the Brexit deal there is a great deal of uncertainty about that. That is a big worry for many people in my constituency.”

Mr Martin asked a parliamentary question to Treasury ministers on Thursday urging the Chancellor of the Exchequer to ensure that financial services – like insurance – were included in any Brexit deal.

However the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, John Glen, said: “The City is very content with the deal we have on financial services, under which we would seek and secure ​enhanced equivalence decisions six months before the end of the implementation period, and the degree of dialogue with and support from the City has been constant throughout.”

Mr Martin was frustrated by the response – and is following up with a written question to try to find out more about the government’s plans.

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He said: “This did nothing to ease the concern felt by people who rely on insurance jobs in Ipswich and in other towns and cities across the country.

“Insurance might not be sexy but it is very important for a lot of people in my constituency. I don’t think ministers really believe that all finance is handled in the City, but they really should acknowledge that it is an issue that is important across the country.”

The surplus is made up of insurance work for European clients that is handled by British based insurance offices – even if the company itself is foreign-owed. Axa is a French-owned company but much of its work is handled through its Ipswich office.

His written letter will seek more clarification about the role of the service sector in Brexit talks.

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