IoD: ‘Davis focus on transition is right, but UK must be able to ‘walk and chew gum at the same time’ to plan for long-term’

Responding to David Davis’ speech in Middlesbrough, which underlined the Government’s commitment to securing an agreement on transitional arrangements at the next EU summit in March, Stephen Martin, Director General of the Institute of Directors, said:

“Ever since the referendum, the IoD has repeatedly made clear the urgent need to secure a ‘business-as-usual’ transition period to allow firms time to prepare and plan for Brexit, as well as providing certainty for investment decisions to carry on as normal for as long as possible. So it is heartening to see how committed the Government is to getting that political deal done by the end of the first quarter this year.

“We are particularly pleased to see the Secretary of State focusing on the need to ensure UK rights in relation to our continued participation in European regulatory bodies during this period.

“However, with the clock still ticking down to March 2019, it is also essential that the Government pushes ahead with laying out its own objectives in greater detail for our future relationship with the EU, instead of just letting Brussels set out its own red lines. To get a bespoke deal, the UK will need to put forward some of the creative thinking first.

“Securing an implementation period in the next two months need not prevent the UK from simultaneously moving to provide clarity on long-term priorities as well. Tight time constraints mean we must learn to walk and chew gum at the same time. As some politicians have noted, we need a destination mapped out as well as building the bridge to it.”