With Brexit negotiations are underway this week, business leaders are watching from the side lines with interest to see how their business will be affected by the type of deal agreed to.
An open letter from some of the leading business organisations has called for the government to pursue a soft Brexit and maintain access to the Single Market.
The letter was penned by the heads of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and manufacturing trade group, the EEF.
While they all accept the result of the referendum, they are urging caution. They’re concerned about the “no deal is better than a bad deal” stance that the government is taking. This could lead to UK businesses having no clear trading rules or regulations when wanting to trade with the EU.
An ideal scenario
It seems that everyone wants something different from the Brexit negotiations. However, the business group leaders represent the interests of thousands of British businesses.
The business group leaders have called for the final Brexit deal to have a tariff-free goods trade system, minimal customs formalities and a flexible system for the movement of workers. The letter also highlights the need for an “open and frictionless border” between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Beside business group leaders, the letter has also been signed by Keir Starmer, Labour MP. Starmer suggested that David Davis should take a new approach to Brexit negotiations, one that doesn’t go down the “no deal is better” route.
He said: “The belligerent and reckless approach adopted by the Prime Minister to date has needlessly wrecked relations with the EU. A much more constructive and responsible tone is needed. No deal has never been a viable option.”
Theresa May is facing pressure to drop her hard Brexit plans. Polls point to people favouring a soft Brexit and ministers within her party are signalling their lack of support for a hard Brexit. Chancellor Philip Hammond recently said that a no deal option would be “very, very bad for Britain”.
This comes as Conservatives lose points in the polls since the General Election. Labour has come ahead of the Conservatives by three points, putting even more pressure on May to act or resign.
What do you think of this open letter? Would you prefer to see a softer Brexit? Let us know your thoughts.