U.K.’s treasury chief George Osborne sought to ease the global markets following Britain’s historic vote to leave the European Union, saying the U.K. economy is in strong position to face the challenges ahead.
“Today I want to reassure the British people and the global community that Britain is ready to confront what the future holds for us from a position of strength,” Osborne said during a press conference this morning.
In his first public appearance since Thursday’s referendum, Osborne stressed that Britain’s economy is in a far better position than it was at the start of the 2008 financial crisis.
“Growth has been robust. Employment rate is at a record high. The capital requirements for banks are ten times what they were and the budget deficit has been brought down from 11 percent of our national income and was forecast to be below 3 percent this year,” said Osborne. “I said we had to fix the roof so that we were prepared for whatever the future held and thank goodness we did. As a result our economy is about as strong as it could be to confront the challenge our country now faces.”
The latest remarks may not be enough to ease investor concerns.
The pound dropped to its lowest level in 30 years on Friday and fell another 2 percent against the U.S. dollar prior to Osborne’s comments. The currency regained some of those losses after the speech and traded at 1.34 as of 8:00 a.m. London time.
Friday’s selloff wiped out $2.1 trillion in global markets with the U.S. losing $830 billion alone.
The typical 401K lost about $3,300 according to ABC News’ Chief Business Correspondent Rebecas Jarvis.
U.S. markets are already bracing for another sell off with Dow Futures indicating stocks will open more than 100 points lower this morning, Jarvis added.
During an appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” British Ambassador to the U.S. Kim Darroch said England’s position following the U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union wouldn’t result in the country “disappearing from the world stage” and would remain “America’s closest ally.”
“There’s going to be a period of uncertainty while we work out this new relationship with Europe,” Darroch said. “But we are a strong country, a stable country. We will work it out in our usual pragmatic way. We will come through this and we will end up as important a player on the international scene as we have been.”
The final vote on the Brexit referendum was split 51.9 percent “leave” to 48.1 percent “remain,” leaving many questioning the finality of the decision. In fact, by midday Sunday more than 3 million people had signed a petition asking for a new referendum. Darroch, however, described the Brexit decision as “irrevocable.”
The vote to exit the European Union also led Prime Minister David Cameron to announce his resignation. According to the ambassador, the “expectation” is that England’s Conservative Party will elect a new leader by the end of September.
“The prime minister made it clear throughout that this was a once-in-a-generation vote and the result was final,” said Darroch. “The task for us now is to pull together and work out the new relationship with Europe.”
Cameron is expected to hold an emergency Cabinet meeting today. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will also visit Brussels and London to address the fallout from the vote.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.