‘Now that Brexit negotiations are beginning, businesses across the UK and their trading partners in Europe want answers to practical questions, not political posturing. A pragmatic and grown-up dialogue on the real-world issues, rather than verbal volleys between London and Brussels, would give firms greater confidence over the next two years. In the early weeks of the negotiation process, businesses would like to see an effort to secure simultaneous exit and trade talks. Concluding exit and trade negotiations at the same time would moderate adjustment costs for UK businesses, and enable trade between UK and EU firms to continue with less disruption.
Business communities around the UK want day-one certainty on the rules and regulations they will face when the UK leaves the EU. For that reason, the premise of stability and continuity at the heart of the Great Repeal Bill is welcome.
A legislative transition of this size and scope has never before been implemented, and we will be watching carefully to ensure there are no unintended consequences for individual firms, for sectors or for business communities as a whole. The government must be exceedingly careful in its use of proposed fast-track powers, or risk blighting businesses with additional costs and burdens. As we have seen in the past, it takes only takes one poorly-drafted regulation to spark expensive court cases with widereaching consequences – and we are talking here about re drafting thousands of pieces of the rule-book.
In the fullness of time, businesses want to work with government to determine areas where maintaining equivalence with EU law is in our national economic interest, and areas where some divergence and change may be required. This will be a complex endeavour, better done right than done quickly.
It is crucial for the Prime Minister and her government to remember Brexit is not the only thing on the minds of UK businesses. Issues here at home, from the training system to sky-high business rates and up-front costs, still need to be addressed. Businesses would not look kindly on a government that treats Brexit as its only job. Getting the fundamentals right here in the UK is as important, if not more important, than any eventual Brexit deal.’