IoD: ‘Business leaders welcome PM’s honesty on future relations with EU’

Responding to the Prime Minister’s Brexit speech, Stephen Martin, Director General of the Institute of Directors, said:

“Business leaders will welcome the Prime Minister’s honest admission that negotiating the future UK-EU relationship will involve making difficult choices. The Prime Minister put forward an ambitious vision for this new partnership, both in terms of access and sectors. It is important that she explicitly referenced the need for binding commitments in areas such as state aid and competition policy, which the IoD has long called for. Her acknowledgment of the need for new labour mobility arrangements will also strike a positive chord with businesses.

“On regulation, we are glad to see her refer to the importance of new cooperation mechanisms that will underpin the trust in each other’s regulatory frameworks. We look forward to the UK putting forward proposals that set out more clarity about how this would work. It was also welcome to hear an explicit reference to continued participation in EU regulatory agencies such as the European Medicines Agency.

“We are keen for more details from the Government on the timelines. It is important to stress that if the UK is doubling down on its unprecedented customs partnership model, HMRC have said it will take five years minimum to implement. That means businesses will need longer to adjust to new settings. We have long emphasised that businesses and government agencies need time to prepare for post-Brexit arrangements.

“As we enter phase two of the negotiations, we must ensure engagement between government and business is frank and thorough.”