CBI wants ‘whole economy’ approach to Brexit negotiations

The UK’s new relationship with the European Union (EU) must meet the needs of every sector of the economy to be a success, as the consequences of leaving any behind could have knock-on effects for others, says the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

Since Brexit was announced last June, CBI has held thousands of conversations across the country with trade associations and firms of all sizes. From these, the group taken an in-depth look at the opportunities, concerns and questions that 18 sectors of the UK economy face ahead of EU negotiations – on the ease of doing business, regulation, and access to talent.

In its report, ‘Making a Success of Brexit’, the CBI calls on the Government to consider the complexity of the modern economy where no business operates in isolation.

“Businesses in every corner of the UK are rolling up their sleeves as they prepare for life outside the EU and are committed to making it a success,” said Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI’s Director-General “Leaving the EU will be a highly complex process, and all sectors of the economy are making their priorities clear in order to get it right.

“The Government will need to take a ‘whole economy’ approach to avoid leaving sectors behind.”

The CBI’s consultations reveal that many questions are shared by businesses across sectors.

“While each sector has issues specific to them, there are many crossovers and common principles that unite them, for example the need to avoid cliff edge changes that cause disruption to supply chains and trade,” Fairbairn continued. “Where companies differ is how they prioritise these issues and the contrasting emphasis they place on trade, migration and regulation. To make a success of Brexit for the whole economy, Government needs to work through all these issues, as well as seize the opportunities afforded by a new focus on the UK’s global economic relationships.

From the report, the CBI has identified six common principles as business priorities:

– A barrier-free relationship with our largest, closest and most important trading partner;

– A clear plan for regulation that gives certainty in the short-term, and in the long-term balances influence, access and opportunity;

– A migration system which allows businesses to access the skills and labour they need to deliver growth;

– A renewed focus on global economic relationships, with the business community at their heart;

– An approach that protects the social and economic benefits of EU funding; and

– A smooth exit from the EU, avoiding a cliff-edge that causes disruption.

Article published 9th January 2017