BIRMINGHAM • British Finance Minister Philip Hammond vowed to protect the economy from any turbulence during negotiations to leave the European Union, as the pound fell on worries that the country is heading towards a disruptive divorce with its biggest trading partner.
"Throughout the negotiating process, we are ready to take whatever steps are necessary to protect this economy from turbulence," Mr Hammond told the Conservatives' annual conference in Birmingham yesterday.
"And when the process is over, we are ready to provide support to British businesses as they adjust to life outside the EU," he added, pledging to guarantee any EU funding secured before Britain's exit.
Prime Minister Theresa May said on Sunday that she would trigger the process to leave the EU by the end of March next year, offering the first glimpse of a timetable for one of the most complex negotiations in recent European history.
The pound skidded more than 1 per cent against the US dollar to as low as US$1.2845.