Following a joint statement from the UK’s leading business organisations (British Chambers of Commerce, CBI, EEF, Federation of Small Businesses, Institute of Directors) on the UK’s future relationship with the European Union – covering both a transition phase and principles to underpin a final agreement between the UK and the EU-27, local representatives commented.
Corin Crane, Chief Executive of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce, explained: “This letter is a clear demonstration that businesses from across the country, of every shape and size need a clear, sensible and positive approach to the Brexit negotiations. Beyond the politics, we need to put the economy first. Our businesses want flexibility across borders and continued joint working with our European partners to allow our goods, people and services to move as easily as possible. At the Black Country Chamber we echo the sentiments in this letter and plea for a respectful and positive period of negotiations that puts our businesses and citizens above politics.”
Calum Nisbet, Regional Director at the Institute of Directors (IoD), added: “With negotiations beginning today, it is vital that the government’s attention is focussed on making the Brexit process as smooth as possible for the economy. Businesses can and will adapt to a new relationship with the EU, but they have to be given time, so transitional arrangements are essential. Confidence among IoD members is fragile at the moment, but it will grow if they see the negotiations being conducted in a constructive and positive manner, with as much transparency as possible. An immediate goal to pursue is a guarantee for EU citizens already in the UK, as our members are reporting concerns about whether essential staff will stay.
“Whatever the final outcome of the Brexit talks, innovative and resilient British companies will continue to develop new products and seek out new opportunities. It’s time to put narrow politics behind, and recognise Brexit is a major national endeavour. It’s in everyone’s interest that we build a new partnership with the EU which prioritises trade, jobs, and the prosperity of the UK.”
Charlotte Horobin, Interim Region Director - Midlands and East at EEF, explained: “Government needs a rethink which puts access to the single market and a form of customs union at the heart of a revised strategy. With less than two years to negotiate a meaningful deal, the Government should also commit to a significant period of transition to manage uncertainty for businesses and bolster confidence. Business groups can help with the negotiations over trade, which is the model every other Government involved in trade negotiations operates, and we need to be brought in quickly to do this. We need to build a political consensus based on our collective national interest.”