French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe makes his pitch for Paris as a destination for banks leaving London after announcing a package of new measures making it easier to do business. David Pollard reports.
Business was on the menu - along with other things you normally get there. Lunch for a gathering of bankers - to whet appetites for something other than London. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FRENCH PRIME MINISTER, EDOUARD PHILIPPE, SAYING: "We want Paris to become Europe's new number one financial hub after Brexit." The government determined, he said, to make it as alluring as possible ... (SOUNDBITE) (English) FRENCH PRIME MINISTER, EDOUARD PHILIPPE, SAYING: "We have prepared a bold and comprehensive package to enhance the standing of Paris, building on our assets .... This package is powerful, it addresses taxation, labour law, the business-friendly environment and also international schools." UK financial services generated an estimated trade surplus of 72 billion pounds last year. Employing 2.2 million workers - around a third of them in the British capital. Moving even a fraction of them could be a tall order. SOUNDBITE (English) SENIOR FX STRATEGIST, RABOBANK, JANE FOLEY, SAYING: "It's not an easy thing to do. That said, it is up there because of Brexit as something which may happen and indeed we have been seeing reports over the last six months or so of jobs being moved out of the U.K." Nearly 20 or so major London-based banks thinking of moving staff - around a half of them to Frankfurt. Dublin also seen as attractive. Though HSBC has now confirmed it'll move a thousand or so jobs to France in the event of a so-called hard Brexit ... Paris proving tempting after all.