French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron says he wants London’s talent to move to Paris post-Brexit. A decade ago, Nicolas Sarkozy made a similar pitch to French citizens in Britain. There’s a reason they stayed here.
Which is why many have left France to work here. Estimates suggest London is home to as many as 300,000 French citizens – and has been for years. It’s no coincidence that Sarkozy campaigned here in 2007. France’s loss of so many able people is our gain.
Britain has higher employment partly because our labour market is much more flexible. In France, not only is the working week legally limited to 35 hours, but it can also be impossible for employers to dismiss underperforming staff.
Increased protection for workers is great – if you already have a job, that is. Not if you don’t. Because it’s so hard to get rid of staff, employers are reluctant to hire them in the first place.
Brexit doesn’t change the fact that the cost of employing people in France and elsewhere in the EU is often prohibitive. Far from relocating, as Macron might hope, British banks are already identifying Brexit opportunities.
Not for the first time, business is months ahead of politics.
But there’s a more important point here.
Economic prosperity comes from flexibility. To thrive, economies need to adapt to changing conditions. Static economies decline.
Brexit allows our economy to become more dynamic – because we’ll no longer be subject to single market overregulation. That’s why economically – not just politically – we made the right choice on June 23rd.