PM Theresa May eases Brexit concerns among business


Prime Minister Theresa May moved to ease worries over Brexit among British business on Thursday, saying she needed a “smooth, orderly exit” from the European Union including “a period of implementation to avoid any cliff-edges”.

At a meeting with heads of industry gatherings and CEOs, May flagged her desire to meet business more often, a move for a Prime Minister whose previous associates felt enormous organisations were excessively close to the government.

England’s Chambers of Commerce (BCC), a business group, cautioned the administration needed to participate in “sustained and structured” discourses with business over Brexit and maintain a strategic distance from an unexpected withdrawal from the alliance.

“On Brexit, the prime minister reiterated that the government’s overarching goal is for a smooth, orderly exit culminating in a comprehensive free trade deal with the EU, with a period of implementation to avoid any cliff-edges,” a representative for the prime minister said.

“The prime minister welcomed the valuable contributions which have come from discussions with business at various levels of government over the past year, including on the development of a modern industrial strategy, and emphasised the need for this engagement to intensify over the period ahead.”

Many organisations have encouraged the administration to push the European Union to agree to a clear and lengthy transitional plan after Britain leaves the coalition in 2019 to enable them to decide on investment plans.

BCC President Francis Martin said businesses wanted “to see sustained and structured discussion with business on the dozens of practical, real-world questions that firms face as a consequence of Brexit”.

“The prospect of multiple, costly, adjustments to trading conditions is a concern for many, so starting discussions on transition arrangements as soon as possible would go a long way to boost business confidence,” he said in a statement.