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Brexit: 'Put economy first' say business groups

Five leading business organisations demand continued access to the European Union’s single market until a Brexit deal is signed.

 
Brexit: 'Put economy first' say business groups
 

Five leading business organisations have called for continued access to the European Union’s (EU) single market until a Brexit deal is signed.

The publication of the letter coincides with the start of Brexit negotiations in Brussels today, led by Brexit secretary David Davis.

While Davis said he hopes to achieve ‘a deal like no other deal in history’, the British Chambers of Commerce, Confederation of British Industry, Manufacturers’ Organisation (EEF), Federation of Small Businesses and Institute of Directors warned the government it must consider the interests of UK business during the talks. The organisations collectively represent hundreds of thousands of businesses across the UK, which employ millions of people.

In a joint letter to business secretary Greg Clark they asked the government to ‘put the economy first’ by maintaining access to the single market until a divorce agreement between the UK and EU is agreed.

‘The business community fully accepts the decision of voters last June that the UK will leave the European Union. We have come together to urge the government to put the economy first as it prepares to start formal negotiations,’ the letter noted.

The organisations called for a final trade deal that allows tariff-free goods to be traded between the UK and EU, alongside a flexible system for the movement of labour and skills.

They would also like an early agreement on the guarantees for EU citizens to be prioritised.

Brexit begins

As Davis met the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels on Monday morning, Davis hoped the talks would be 'positive and constructive' in their tone.

'There is more that unites us than divides us,' Davis said, according to Reuters.

Almost a year since the UK's population voted by a narrow majority to leave the UK, Barnier hopes the focus of today's discussions will be to agree a format and timetable for the departure.

A top priority for the EU's is to guarantee rights for 3 million EU citizens who reside in Britain. They will also push to receive a payment - potentially totalling tens of billions of euros - covering what it claims the UK owes the organisation.

Political leaders, including German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Emmanuel Macron, hope that no concessions will be made to Britain, as this might encourage other countries to follow suit.

 

24 comments so far. Why not have your say?

North Star

Jun 19, 2017 at 12:41

With any agreement with the EU the devil will be in the detail and unlike industry & commerce government has little idea of the complexity involved.

We may get a deal where the politicians are satisfied but the details will be to the detriment of UK industry. Deregulation sounds good to right wing politicians, but in reality in order to sell good round the world products have to conform with recognised standards. My real fear is that UK standards on their own may not be enough and CE standards will still dominate and the UK will lose out.

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In the Dark

Jun 19, 2017 at 13:30

Leaving the EU must mean just that customs union, single market et al., Off into the world we go a bright new future awaits. There is no benefit to remaining in the EU, it will not change for the betterment of its citizens. It is a protection outfit by choice and design, so long, fair well and good bye.

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Michael Tatnell

Jun 19, 2017 at 17:16

You are not speaking a language that the Tory party understands. Tell them your members will withdraw funding from the Tory Party unless they go for a soft Brexit to remain in the Customs Union and the Market. They will only understand the phrase "No more money for the Tory party". Nothing else will get through to them.

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Donald Chan

Jun 19, 2017 at 17:54

'Put economy first' was what a lot of American business leaders were saying(privately) when Hitler was expanding his empire.

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Duncan jones

Jun 19, 2017 at 18:15

Despite the madness of the recent general election it seems the one message to government is......listen! Surely they must now 'get it'? Having imperilled the nation there is no room for error going forward. May and Davis in particular are under the microscope but that may be no bad thing. Their attitude to negotiations before the election seemed somewhat cavalier.That has now changed because of the verdict of the electorate. So a potential unintended consequence of the election has been to strengthen the negotiating hand of the people! Ignore the election result at the government's peril. Democracy is alive and will administering reality checks wherever necessary!

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Cynical Investor2

Jun 19, 2017 at 18:26

North Star can remember when the British "Kite-mark" was the envy of the World. We led the World where standards are concerned until we were required Standards imposed by the EU. We will lead again.

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North Star

Jun 19, 2017 at 18:54

The world has moved on since the Kite-mark.

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Cynical Investor2

Jun 19, 2017 at 19:01

Yes, it may have, our standards were and still are superior, to those we have had to adopt. Demeaning the Kite-mark proves nothing.

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an elder one

Jun 19, 2017 at 21:48

North Star; you waffle; engineering will meet whatever standards are necessary to sell the goods, as they currently do in any marketplace. Your comment is ill disposed for some unaccountable reason; an engineer you ain't.

Industry and commerce - where the big boys are concerned - seem unaware or don't care that brexit is primarily a political matter, with a promise of a better economy; they don't like change because it means they'll have to readjust from their presently comfy and complacent positions: tough!

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North Star

Jun 20, 2017 at 07:32

I'm not arguing about standards but how industry complies with a given standard. Certification to CE standard will have to be carried out in a EU country, not the UK after Brexit. That where extra costs come in.

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Michael Tatnell

Jun 20, 2017 at 09:20

To paraphrase Richard Nixon: If you grab them by the funding their hearts and minds will follow.

Industry has no chance of influencing this ultra right wing government unless it withdraws its funding of the Tory Party.

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an elder one

Jun 20, 2017 at 10:37

North Star, of course they do; so what! standards are met, or not clearly met in any particular case; in which latter case the goods cannot be sold in that market. Logic suggests that, if a manufacturer don't meet a particular foreign market standard, it's because they don't find it profitable to sell therein; such matters are resolved one way or another by managements.

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Donald Chan

Jun 20, 2017 at 11:16

Elder one, you cannot spend all your time putting others straight. Where Brexit is concerned, emotion rules.

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an elder one

Jun 20, 2017 at 12:19

Donald, one has to try, if for no other reason than frustration with the inadequacies of the so-called ruling class and its associated cuckoo minded elite; not to mention other mortals.

Democracy and its politics is the price we pay for the hopeful continuing existence of homo sapiens. You are right of course.

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an elder one

Jun 20, 2017 at 14:52

Michael Tatnell, I take it you're an ultra lefty, there's no debating with the likes of you. Generally speaking Industry knows where its bread is buttered; the potential for them being nationalised by your lot must be a considerable deterrent.

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Michael Tatnell

Jun 20, 2017 at 15:59

No, Elder One, I am an Edward Heath type Conservative. Generally Industry has not done well. It has been cosseted by devaluations, which have enabled inefficient backward-looking companies to survive with disastrous results. Contrast this with Germany where a strengthening currency has forced industry to be innovative and improve productivity and quality. The Tory Party will not listen to Industry unless Industry cuts off its funding. That's all they understand.Is there any debating with the likes of you?

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an elder one

Jun 20, 2017 at 17:35

A prevailing opinion suggests Germany in fact benefits from - for them - a considerably undervalued euro. Whatever the euro is doing up and down in the nature of currencies, that opinion remains.

Incidentally, as an engineer I have a great respect for their's and have worked among them. If there is a problem here in the UK it is that education and training is not adequate to the task of providing sufficient engineering people and the management to meet those needs you describe - a responsibility of government. And no to debate, I can see we have little in common; I was never inspired by Edward Heath at all and could not forgive him for scrambling us into the European adventure. Charles deGaulle was right, the UK could never fit in.

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Michael Tatnell

Jun 21, 2017 at 09:20

I agree that education and training for engineers is woefully inadequate. My son is 2 years into a 5 year masters degree with 1 year in industry. At the end he will have a debt of £70-80,000 which will be hypothecated and cut up and bundles and then sold to "friends of Osborne" in the financial sector for perhaps 20% of face value; just like sub-prime mortgages. A lifetime of debt to entice students to study engineering! On the other hand if my house was worth £1m then I could leave it to him free of tax; a saving of £400,000! This Government is so twisted in favour of the well-off and so prejudiced against those from poorer families that a Marxist or Trotskyite Government after the next election is inevitable, with Diane Abbott in charge of finances!!!

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Cynical Investor2

Jun 21, 2017 at 10:21

Michael, the probability of the scenario you paint is highly likely which will give our children a terrible future.

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Michael Tatnell

Jun 21, 2017 at 12:27

Yes. Excess in one direction is countered by excess in the opposite direction. A rule of nature?

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an elder one

Jun 21, 2017 at 13:37

Miichael and Cynic, you bother about trivialities; I read Prof Stephen Hawking reckons we should start leaving this overcrowded planet in the next 30 years; now that is a frightening probability.

Incidentally Michael I didn't do a masters and in fact did my reading mostly at Colleges of technology and practice in an apprenticeship, interrupted by national service and I think I wasn't any the worse as an engineer (chartered) for all that; as they say there are more ways of skinning a cat.

And Cynic by the time of the next government - if we are lucky - the youngsters that gave Corbyn their vote, will have grown up and gathered their senses.

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Michael Tatnell

Jun 21, 2017 at 13:50

I agree that a college of technology and apprenticeship would be fine if you lived in a city that offered a good college and good apprenticeships. We did consider this but felt that our area was lacking.

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Cynical Investor2

Jun 21, 2017 at 14:02

"Elder One" yes have read Stephen Hawking's prophecy which if happens there is no way any human can escape. The History of this Planet has seen the Dominant Specie wiped out before. Homo Sapeins do not want too think they are immune.

The youngster's to whom you refer I sense are being brain-washed by a past-master of deceit. So long as he tells them their debt ( student-loan) will be wiped, they are more than likely to remain loyal to this first class con-man.

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an elder one

Jun 21, 2017 at 15:32

Cynic, if the Tories can hold together for tor the next 5 years at least - in no way a certain thing, with the childish things those politicians seem to be - then the kids may have grown out of their foolish preoccupations; doubtful I know!

A major problem: Corbyn is not the only agent; the universities nowadays do the same stuff. Once upon a time the universities existed for higher learning, now, by the dictates of political correctness, they seem obliged to accept anyone who can scrape in and industry has to bear the consequence of some patchy skill of intake; the media though, seems well served, judging by BBC proclivities and the waffle one has to endure with the newspapers if you can bear to read them.

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