US banks are spending “hundreds of thousands” campaigning to stop Britain leaving the EU

Is big business beginning to panic over possibility of a Brexit?

Goldman Sachs in one bank among several US operations that has spent “hundreds of thousands of pounds” campaigning to keep Britain in the European Union.

Goldman has given the money to the Britain Stronger in Europe Campaign, led by former M&S boss Lord Rose, Sky News reports.

It is understood that other US banks have made similar donations, in a sign that the large corporate firms are getting jumpy about whether the UK will decide to remain in the EU at the impending referendum.

Neither Sky nor Goldman revealed the size of the “six figure donation”, but it will be a fillip to David Cameron’s campaign for remaining a member of the EU following a renegotiation of membership terms.

According to the Financial Times, a key reason US banks are unenthused about a Brexit is that having a London operation benefits the banks as “passporting” rules provide access to the valuable European market.

The FT also noted how unusual it is for a bank to make such a donation.

But a Brexit would be particularly painful for these goliaths. In November Morgan Stanley president Colm Kelleher told the paper that should Britain leave the EU, “you would see significant backlash against London as a global financial centre.”

This is bad. The financial sector is a key driver keeping the show on the road for the British economy.

According to a report available through the House of Commons Library, in 2014 “financial and insurance services contributed £126.9 billion in GVA [gross value added] to the UK economy (in cash terms), 8.0% of total value added”.  

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