IoD – Heat must give way to light showing path to a ‘good Brexit’

Responding to the news that the letter triggering Article 50 has been delivered in Brussels, Stephen Martin, Director General of the Institute of Directors, said:

“Now the real work begins. Ministers must roll up their sleeves and focus on getting a good deal for Britain in the tough negotiations ahead. Success means listening to business on the vital priorities of maintaining tariff-free trade, minimising customs red-tape and keeping the bureaucratic hurdles to bringing in necessary skills as low as possible. Business leaders are optimists by nature, but they are now facing substantial change, with the UK leaving both the EU Single Market and the Customs Union.

“Maintaining confidence over the next few years will be key, and that means the Government must prioritise a smooth Brexit, with the terms of the withdrawal deal and our new trading arrangement both agreed before we walk through the exit door. We’ve felt a lot of heat in the months since the referendum, now we need to see the light showing us the way to a good Brexit.”

In a recent report on the business priorities for the negotiations, Navigating Brexit, the IoD called on the Government to

  • agree with the EU to extend the 2-year negotiating deadline if a new trading arrangement hasn’t been agreed. Business do not want the UK to leave without a trade deal agreed
  • guarantee that the 3 million EU citizens living in the UK will be able to stay after Brexit, reducing on-going uncertainty for employers and employees – 40% of IoD members employ EU nationals
  • implement any trade arrangement with the EU evenly across sectors, nations and regions of the UK
  • minimise potential customs delays by setting up a joint customs cooperation committee with the EU
  • consider re-joining the European Free Trade Association, which would not prevent the UK from signing trade deals outside Europe
  • prioritise regulatory stability for businesses in the Great Repeal Bill, with any changes in the short-term to kept to a minimum
  • pursue some quick-wins on areas of on-going co-operation, such as participation in the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme and the Erasmus scheme

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