Cautious welcome from business to Brexit deal

As politicians locked horns over the draft Brexit deal, UK business leaders gave a guarded welcome to the proposals agreed between London and Brussels.

UK union jack and EU flag superimposed on an image of St Pauls

Carolyn Fairbairn, of the Confederation of British Industry: "Progress" has been made

Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general of the Confederation of British Industry, welcomed the fact that, after 20 months of negotiation, "progress" had been made."If passed, it moves the UK one step away from the nightmare precipice of no deal and the harm it would cause to communities across the country," she said."Securing a transition period has long been firms’ top priority and every day that passes without one means lost investment and jobs, hitting the most vulnerable hardest. Time is now up. This deal is a compromise, including for business, but it offers that essential transitional period as a step back from the cliff-edge."More clarity on the final relationship is needed, and uncertainty remains high, but this is an important step forward. Transition and the backstop are not the intended permanent solutions for either side, but should pave the way for more work on the future deal. This must secure frictionless trade, ambitious access for our world-beating services, and a say over future rules."

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Stephen Martin, of the Institute of Directors: "Leaving the EU without a deal is a very bad outcome for businesses, workers and consumers"

Stephen Martin, director-general of the Institute of Directors, said that business leaders had been "desperate" for negotiations to reach a conclusion and that, finally, "clear, definitive progress" had been made.He added: "It is particularly welcome that the Cabinet has now come to an agreement on the withdrawal text and the outline of the future framework. We look forward to a summit at the end of this month where we can finally say to our members that the ink is dry on this deal.“We urge all politicians to think long and hard about how they react to this first-stage agreement. Leaving the EU without a deal is a very bad outcome for businesses, workers and consumers, and this is simply an inherent risk that comes with voting down any withdrawal deal. Our members will adjust to a new relationship with the EU, but they must be allowed to do this in as smooth and orderly manner as possible."

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Catherine McGuinness, The City of London Corporation: "It is vital that a transition period is secured"

The City of London Corporation described the draft deal as providing "clarity and offers a foundation for financial services".Catherine McGuinness, the corporation's policy chair, said she wanted further clarity on the future of the European nationals who make up about 20 per cent of the City's workforce. She added: "It is vital that a transition period is secured to allow the sector time to work through this complex process and the suggested withdrawal agreement would provide that."

Miles Celic, CEO of the lobby group TheCityUK: "The focus must now be on securing the withdrawal agreement so that we can move forward "

Miles Celic, CEO of the lobby group TheCityUK, said he believed negotiators had made "great strides" on reaching a withdrawal agreement. “The importance of financial services has been acknowledged and its inclusion in the political declaration means that this sector is hardwired into the future negotiations," he said."It also recognises that this is in the mutual economic interests of both sides and – most importantly – of customers.“It’s encouraging that the declaration is grounded in the principles of regulatory autonomy, transparency and stability, and underpinned by close and structured cooperation. The industry will also welcome the clarity on the legally-binding transition period.“There is still much to be negotiated, including the framework for the wider professional services sector, which is so important to both the UK and EU economies. The focus must now be on securing the withdrawal agreement so that we can move forward to the next stage of the process.”

Dr Adam Marshall, of the British Chambers of Commerce: "Our priority will be to assess the implications of these proposals"

Dr Adam Marshall, director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “Businesses will recognise the huge efforts made by the Prime Minister and across government to reach this milestone.“With people’s livelihoods and the future prospects for many companies in the balance, this is not the time for snap judgments. Businesses will be looking carefully and deliberately at the real-world implications of this agreement over the coming days, and expect their elected representatives to do the same.“After two and half years of uncertainty, this may be end of the beginning — but not yet the beginning of the end. Our firms need clarity and precision on the specific terms of trade they will face in future, many of which are still to be agreed. The avoidance of sudden or multiple changes to trading conditions is crucial to business investment and confidence.“Our priority will be to assess the implications of these proposals, working closely with Chamber business communities across the UK.”Relocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centreAccess hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online DirectorySubscribe to Relocate Extra, our monthly newsletter, to get all of the international assignments and global mobility news.

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