Business calls for clarity from Prime Minister’s speech

Posted on January 16th, 2017

Businesses are calling on Prime Minister Theresa May to use her promised Brexit speech tomorrow/today(Tues) to offer clarity on key issues of concern.

Downing Street has confirmed that Prime Minister Theresa May will use the speech to give the clearest indication yet of the Government’s plans for Britain’s exit from the EU.

The Government has been under pressure to spell out its negotiating stance but has consistently declined to show its hand before Article 50 is triggered and negotiations begin.

Last November, East Midlands Chamber*, with support from regional MPs, led a delegation of regional business leaders to Westminster and used the event in the heart of Government to unveil an eight-page report setting out what regional businesses want to ensure Britain prospers after it leaves the EU.

The report – Shaping a Great Future for the East Midlands: Leading Balanced and Sustainable Growth in a Post-Brexit Economy – called on the Government to
• expand its trade missions programme
• ensure meaningful consultation on priority markets
• secure the best possible transitional agreements for trading with EU countries
• ensure future immigration policy enables businesses to meet their skills needs
• give clear guidance on tax and customs issues
• maintain stability in terms of regulations
• guarantee funding for programmes currently co-funded through EU investment, and
• maintain access to the European Investment Bank.

Since the result of the EU Referendum last June, the Chamber has said that business, the creator of jobs and wealth and driver of the regional and national economy, should play an important role in exit negotiations.

Scott Knowles
Scott Knowles, the Chamber’s Chief Executive, said: “Getting the right messages into Westminster, and making sure our regional MPs are all attuned to the needs of the local business community, are vital to making sure that Britain prospers in a post-Brexit global economy.

“Taking a strong contingent of local business leaders to the heart of Government to deliver their message to MPs gave a very clear indication of just how strongly they want to be involved in negotiations and decisions that will impact them and ultimately affect their ability to be the creators of jobs and wealth and drivers of the regional and national economy.

“We hope to see some indication that Mrs May is listening to business and that she is committing to place the needs of business high on the agenda once Brexit talks begin in earnest.”

Scott added: “We know from our own Quarterly Economic Surveys that businesses in the East Midlands are doing well at the moment and are driving the economy but that they have concerns about their EU workforces, immigration generally and trade prices and their impact on inflation.

“Mrs May has an opportunity now to start laying some of those concerns to rest and set out Government plans for Britain outside the EU, where business is ready and waiting to meet whatever challenges lie ahead.”