Business leaders set out priorities for British companies. Comment from the CBI and the FSB.
A business plan post EU
Business bodies are calling for a clear lead and swift clarity following the vote to exit the EU. In the absence of a plan to inspire confidence, they warn, delays are likely happen in making the investments and creating the jobs on which growth depends.
The first priority for the director-general of the Confederation of British Industry, Carolyn Fairburn, is to put in place strong, calm and decisive leadership. ‘The British people have spoken in an explosive referendum result which will define the fortunes of the UK for generations to come’
‘The impact cannot be underestimated and will take time to understand,’ she says. ‘Businesses welcome the prime minister’s announcement of a delay in triggering Article 50 to create breathing space, but need rapid clarity on who is making the decisions.’
Her second priority is to preserve the UK’s commitment to an open economy in defining its new relationship with Europe and the rest of the world. For companies, it means continued access to the single market and keeping the right to recruit the best people, as well as understanding the principles that the UK will follow in agreeing deals with trade partners elsewhere.
Finally, in shaping future economic relationships, she is looking to forge a close and deep collaboration between government and businesses of all sizes across the UK. ‘This needs to be a new kind of partnership, reaching out more widely than ever before across the UK’s business community. It should involve companies of all sizes, all sectors, and, vitally, from all parts of the country.’
‘No-one pretends this transition will be easy or that change will be pain free. But now is the time,’ she says, ‘to turn the will of the British people into a new set of world relationships that benefit everyone.’
At the Federation of Small Business, a call is being made for immediate action to reassure small businesses that they can continue to trade and do business.
‘Smaller firms need simple access to the single market, the ability to hire the right people, continued EU funding for key schemes and clarity on the future regulatory framework. This is crucial to ensure economic growth and job creation,’ says the FSB’s national chair, Mike Cherry.
The consequences will be felt more widely than just by the 30% of FSB members engaged in international trade. Many more are involved in the supply chains of EU investors in the UK. Others depend on the right to work in the EU. Many are struggling to recruit the right skills. Large numbers benefit from EU funds. All will be affected by the process of disentangling 40 years of UK/EU regulation.
‘The FSB will continue to be a constructive partner in these negotiations and push for swift clarity on these crucial questions. We will seek to ensure that the confidence of the UK’s 5.4 million small businesses, which is already at its lowest level since 2013, does not fall any further.’
To read the full story from the CBI, click here
To read the full story from the FSB, click here
SMEforGrowth Editor 28.06.16