LIMA (Reuters) - Deloitte will continue to invest in Britain and has no plans to withdraw, its global chairman told Reuters on Thursday, following media reports that the consultancy firm might move work if the post-Brexit stance on immigration were too tough.
“We still have a very big base in the UK and we’re very proud of our UK heritage,” said David Cruickshank, talking on the sidelines of the annual APEC forum of Pacific Rim economies in Peru.
“(Brexit) just says the UK has to be very good at trading internationally, doing things internationally and that’s where all our efforts are. So we continue to invest hugely in the UK.”
Deloitte sparked government criticism this week after an internal memo written by its consultants was leaked that said Britain has no overall strategy for leaving the European Union, or Brexit.
Cruickshank, who was formerly chairman of Deloitte UK, said he had not yet read the memo.
On Thursday, Deloitte UK Chief Executive David Sproul told Sky News that the company would be prepared to move work outside Britain if restrictions were placed on immigration. Prime Minister Theresa May has argued that she must implement the wishes of the British people and increase controls.
Fears of a retreat from the trend in recent years toward freer flow of trade and people across borders are dominating discussions at the APEC meet in Lima. Leaders are trying to pick up the pieces after Donald Trump’s election as president of the United States threw cold water on trade deals, particularly the Trans Pacific Partnership.
“I think the case has to be made again about the benefits (of free trade) because there have been some challenges around some of the communities who got left behind with globalization,” said Cruickshank.
“I think long term, free trade will out.”
Reporting by Rosalba O'Brien; Editing by Lisa Shumaker