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Britain’s got to think big after Brexit, says billionaire Michael Spencer

JIM ARMITAGE
'We need to ensure that the UK does not become a little protectionist country' says Spencer

Michael Spencer, the billionaire City entrepreneur, has declared Britain must become far more competitive to thrive through Brexit.

The former Conservative party treasurer, who was not a Brexiteer before the referendum, called on the Government to slash corporate tax and encourage new start-ups.

“We need to ensure that the UK does not become a little protectionist country,” he told the Standard. “We need to be thoroughly focused on what will make this country attractive for inward investment.”

Spencer is selling the final part of his broking empire NEX in a £3.9 billion deal to be voted through by investors tomorrow.

Today, he said that he was no longer interested in running a plc, hinting that the red tape was not worth it. “I have run a public company for 20 years and doing that is less and less attractive now,” he said.

He added that the EU would be only 15% of global GDP when Britain leaves.

“That means there is another 85% to go for afterwards, spread across the world. We can prosper post-EU if we adopt a very pro-enterprise perspective. We must be bold and radical.”

Earlier this week he complained that the debate around having quotas for women at the top of companies was a distraction for big businesses. Spencer formed his ICAP broking business in 1986 with, as he described it, “four people in an office in Finsbury Circus.” It grew into a FTSE-100 company. The last part of it, NEX, is being sold to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange after tomorrow’s shareholder vote.

“CME is the best buyer of NEX,” he said. “Scale matters, and this is a very foresightful deal.” Spencer will receive £650 million for his stake in the business.