United Kingdom will not become a tax haven after Brexit, Philip Hammond says

May's spokesman was backing comments made by immigration minister Brandon Lewis this weekend after yet more division within the Cabinet.

Cable retorted: "If the foreign secretary is working so closely with the chancellor, can he confirm that he supports the chancellor's call for a three-year transitional deal with continued free movement of labour?"

Some three million European Union nationals, among them about 800,000 Poles, live in the UK.

Meanwhile, Mr Hammond used an interview with Le Monde to downplay claims Britain could try to become a Singapore-style low-tax economy if it does not get the Brexit deal it wants - appearing to contradict his earlier position on the UK's potential future. "He is undermining business confidence and openly working towards the continuation of open borders and the free movement of people which the British people comprehensively rejected last year".

He added: "The amount of tax that we raise, measured as a percentage of GDP, is within the European average and I think we will remain at that level".

But in a thinly-veiled swipe at Mr Hammond, he criticised "almost daily freelancing about the contents of such an agreement", adding: 'The current principles of free movement have to end. "Last week, the Home Secretary said there will be a registration system for migrants arriving post-March 2019", the spokesman said. "That would not be good for Britain, but nor do I believe it would be good for the EU". "That is not our project or our vision for the future". We don't want that to change, even after we've left the EU.

The comments by Downing Street came after days of confusion and UK Cabinet splits over the crucial issue of immigration after Brexit.

The chancellor is reported to have told business leaders that the United Kingdom was seeking a "standstill" with full access to the single market and customs union, according to the Financial Times, as well as an "implementation phase" for new customs systems and immigration checks once a permanent deal is finalised with Europe. Britain will retain a "recognizably European" social, economic and cultural model after Brexit, he said.

Setting out her Brexit strategy in January, May said Britain would not seek to remain a member of the EU's single market because that would mean having to retain its freedom of movement rules.

Britain's finance industry could lose up to 40,000 investment banking jobs in the next few years unless it strikes a softer deal on its departure from the European Union, according to a new report by consultancy firm Oliver Wyman.


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