Scotland Seeks to Keep Finance Jobs as Brexit Raises Stakes

(Bloomberg) -- Scotland will seek to maintain its position as a financial services hub when Britain leaves the European Union, a senior member of the nation’s government said, as Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon prepared to discuss Brexit with U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May.

Sturgeon is due to meet May on Monday as part of talks to discuss how Scotland can be protected during the U.K.’s negotiations with the EU. That could include trying to persuade the EU to treat Scotland differently, giving it a different status to that of the rest of U.K. and allowing it the privileges of the single market.

“It might be in the United Kingdom’s interests to make sure Scotland retains financial services jobs and be a platform for financial services going forward,” Scotland’s External Affairs Minister Fiona Hyslop said in an interview in Brussels. “We want to be as pragmatic as possible to promote and protect our interests.”

The U.K.’s withdrawal from the EU raises the prospect of British banks, insurers and others losing the so-called passporting rights allowing them access to region’s single market, which could make London less attractive as a financial center. The semi-autonomous Scottish government has pledged to come up with proposals to keep Scotland inside the single market even if England leaves.

Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU and with May preparing to start negotiating over Britain’s future relationship with the bloc, the Scottish government wants to ensure that its doesn’t lose out.

“Part of that is protecting what we already have but also promoting Scotland as the best place to do business,” she said. “It’s not all about tariffs and taxes, it’s also about freedom of movement of peoples.”