UK-based communications giant Vodafone – one of the UK’s largest companies – has said it may move its headquarters out of London to a location in Europe, following the Brexit vote.
The decision is dependent on the UK’s future stance on the movement of people, capital, and goods, said the company: “The UK’s membership of the European Union has been an important factor in the growth of a company such as Vodafone. Freedom of movement of people, capital, and goods are integral to the operation of any pan-European business.”
Vodafone is but the latest company to issue such a warning. Several international banks are also considering their options, given that the EU banking ‘passport’ which allows pan-European banks to be run from the City may be torn up.
Negotiations between Westminster and Brussels are at the earliest stages following revelations that the Leave camp had drawn up no post-Brexit strategy for the UK.
The irony for Leave campaigners who secured the majority vote in the referendum is that the UK may be left with nearly all of the impacts of EU membership, but without any influence over policymaking, and have succeeded only in damaging the UK’s international standing and credit rating.
Another long-term risk is the possible breakup of the UK, spearheaded by Scotland. If Scotland succeeds in negotiating ongoing membership of the EU, post-independence, then it would secure an enormous competitive advantage in attracting international trade.