British Chambers of Commerce warn UK government of disagreements over Brexit
The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) is a body that represents businesses all over the UK that collectively employ over 6 million people in Britain. And they are normally known to be quite mild mannered when it comes to political interventions. Small c conservative are they.
But it seems the situation with Brexit negotiations is troubling them. “Public disagreements between cabinet ministers in recent weeks have only served to undermine business confidence, not just on Brexit negotiations, but also on the many issues where firms need to see clear action from government closer to home,” said BCC Director General Adam Marshall.
And it seems that there are two serious worries about the obvious lack of clarity and progress that we can see in the ongoing negotiations. Firstly, UK based businesses are delaying or postponing investment decision making, it seems, and, secondly, overseas firms are also holding fire when it comes to making decisions regarding the UK and investment.
The British Chambers of Commerce is looking for a Brexit transition lasting at least three years, as well as progress on the future trading relationship with the EU by the end of 2017. Marshall says of his members: “They will judge the government’s progress on Brexit by this yardstick – not by public speeches or pronouncements – and will take investment and hiring decisions accordingly.”
Today at the Conservative party conference in Manchester, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond addressed some of the concerns in his speech and other comments to media. He said: “There are short-term challenges and the uncertainty created by the Brexit negotiation process is one of them. We’re already seeing some decisions being made. What we’re hearing from business is a plea: ‘Don’t put us in a position where we have to assume the worst, give us a horizon so we can plan the future with confidence’. The sooner we can get some clarity, the sooner we can move forward, give businesses and investors more certainty about the future, the quicker this economy will start growing again.” Such clarity cannot come too soon.