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Press Releases Brexit - Press releases Policy publications - Brexit

IoD calls on MPs to listen to businesses on crucial decisions for UK economic future

27 Mar 2019

tradeThe Institute of Directors is today [Wednesday] calling on politicians of all parties to listen to the voice of businesses as they make vital decisions on the path ahead for Brexit.

Companies know best how they will be affected by different Brexit outcomes, the IoD said, publishing a new survey of 1,400 business leaders, in which 6 in 10 wanted the UK to follow Single Market rules on both goods and services in order to ensure frictionless trade with the EU. A majority of IoD members also supported the UK aligning its tariffs with the EU, although by a smaller proportion. When asked in a previous survey, by a margin of two-thirds to one-third, IoD members favoured remaining in the Single Market after Brexit.

Edwin Morgan, Interim Director General of the Institute of Directors, said:

“Businesses were told that by now a Brexit transition period would have been secured and we would have moved on to discussing our future relationship with the EU. That we have got to this late stage with so little to show for it is the cause of deep frustration and anger among companies.

“The decisions that Parliament faces this week cannot be ducked. There are no simple choices, only trade-offs. Conflicting views among MPs are understandable, and business does not have a unanimous view either, but now is the moment to accept that every course of action creates both risks and opportunities. When our political leaders convene in Westminster today, they must be prepared to compromise. While our members may be split on the question of another referendum, the preference for alignment to secure continued access after Brexit is clearer to see.

“Politicians who claim to prioritise the UK’s future economic success must take account of the views of business leaders, who understand better than anyone the impact of the changes that are coming to our relationship with our largest trading partner.”

With uncertainty lingering over the length of any extension period, the IoD also published figures showing businesses are split on the matter, with 50% favouring a shorter extension of up to three months, against 40% who backed a longer period of at least nine months.

On Article 50 extension, Morgan added:

“While avoiding a no-deal Brexit has been the priority for most of our members, extension isn’t an end in itself. Last week’s agreement at the European Council only provided the tiniest bit of breathing room, not much else. Depending on what happens in Parliament this week, the Government must make clear exactly how they intend to use an extension period to secure a smooth Brexit, and set us on the path towards a productive partnership with the EU.”

Full survey results

1376 respondents, conducted between 14-21 March 2019

Which of the following statements best reflects the interests of your (primary) organisation on the UK's future relationship with the EU after Brexit regarding goods? ​

The UK should continue to follow Single Market rules for goods to ensure continued frictionless trade with the EU

59%

The UK should ensure it can diverge from Single Market rules for goods

27%

No view either way

13%

Don't know

2%


Which of the following statements best reflects the interests of your (primary) organisation on the UK's future relationship with the EU after Brexit regarding services?

The UK should continue to follow Single Market rules to ensure continued easy access for services trade with the EU

59%

The UK should ensure it can diverge from Single Market rules for services

30%

No view either way

10%

Don't know

2%

 What statement best reflects the views of your (primary) organisation? ​

The UK should continue aligning its tariffs with the EU's to ensure frictionless trade with the EU

55%

The UK should ensure it can completely differentiates its tariffs from the EU's

36%

No view either way

7%

Don't know

2%

 

Which of the following best reflects the interests of your (primary) organisation?

Any extension should be short in duration (up to/around 3 months)

50%

Any extension should be longer in duration (minimum 9-12 months)

40%

No view either way

8%

Don't know

2%

 

January survey results

1202 respondents, conducted between 17-19 January 2019

 

Which of the following is most closely aligned with the interests of your organisation?

Assuming the UK leaves the EU, it should remain in the Single Market

66%

Assuming the UK leaves the EU, it should leave the Single Market

30%

Don't know

4%

 

Further breakdown of March survey:

 

Which of the following statements best reflects the interests of your (primary) organisation on the UK's future relationship with the EU after Brexit regarding goods?

 

Overall

Any goods

All exporters

Any goods exporters

Non- exporters

Domestic only

Align

59%

64%

62%

66%

51%

49%

Diverge

27%

29%

26%

27%

29%

26%

No view

13%

5%

11%

6%

18%

23%

Don't know

2%

2%

2%

2%

2%

1%

 

 

Overall

Small

Medium

Large

Align

59%

58%

59%

62%

Diverge

27%

27%

27%

23%

No view

13%

13%

13%

14%

Don't know

2%

2%

2%

1%

 

(Selected sectors)

 

Financial and insurance

ICT

Manufacturing

Professional, scientific and technical

Other service

Align

52%

69%

63%

60%

58%

Diverge

26%

21%

26%

23%

25%

No view

20%

8%

9%

15%

16%

Don't know

1%

2%

2%

2%

1%

 

Which of the following statements best reflects the interests of your (primary) organisation on the UK's future relationship with the EU after Brexit regarding services?

 

Overall

Any services

All exporters

Any services exporters

Non- exporters

Domestic only

Align

59%

60%

62%

64%

50%

48%

Diverge

30%

30%

29%

29%

33%

32%

No view

10%

8%

8%

6%

15%

19%

Don't know

2%

2%

1%

1%

2%

2%

 

 

Overall

Small

Medium

Large

Align

59%

60%

57%

59%

Diverge

30%

29%

31%

29%

No view

10%

9%

11%

11%

Don't know

2%

2%

2%

1%

 

(Selected sectors)

 

Financial and insurance

ICT

Manufacturing

Professional, scientific and technical

Other service

Align

61%

66%

52%

62%

63%

Diverge

28%

29%

28%

30%

26%

No view

10%

4%

18%

7%

9%

Don't know

1%

1%

2%

2%

3%

 

What statement best reflects the views of your (primary) organisation?  [regarding aligning or diverging on tariffs]

 

Overall

Any goods

All importers

Goods only importers

Goods + services importers

Any goods importers

Non- importing goods sellers

Align

55%

56%

57%

55%

62%

58%

51%

Diverge

36%

40%

36%

41%

31%

36%

42%

No view

7%

3%

5%

3%

4%

4%

5%

Don't know

2%

1%

2%

1%

3%

2%

1%

 

 

Overall

Small

Medium

Large

Align

55%

56%

53%

58%

Diverge

36%

36%

37%

31%

No view

7%

5%

8%

10%

Don't know

2%

2%

2%

2%

 

(Selected sectors)

 

Financial and insurance

ICT

Manufacturing

Professional, scientific and technical

Other service

Align

53%

62%

53%

59%

52%

Diverge

35%

32%

40%

33%

35%

No view

11%

4%

4%

6%

9%

Don't know

1%

1%

3%

2%

4%

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