Manufacturers call for government to rethink Brexit strategy

British manufacturers have called for the government to rethink its Brexit strategy and place greater emphasis on membership of the single market and a form of customs union.

A survey by EEF showed that firms in the sector are already altering their plans due to the current strategy, and it called for a change in focus along with a suitable transition period.

It warned that more organisations may end up considering moving their operations away from the UK unless the government adopts a more pro-business outlook in the upcoming negotiations.

“The new government’s priorities must radically re-focus Brexit negotiations around trade and close cooperation ensuring a smooth exit from the EU,” said EEF chief executive Terry Scuoler.

“There are numerous ways of establishing a new relationship with the EU and, given we’ve just wasted a year, the government needs to move away from its previous rhetoric and start repairing relations with EU partners.

“This means putting access to the single market and a form of customs union at the heart of a revised strategy, and removing the shibboleths created around a hard Brexit, which businesses know would be highly damaging for Britain.

“The UK can surely manage who is and who is not in the country by introducing a more effective and robust form of immigration control which maintains the rights of EU citizens and UK citizens across Europe.

“With less than two years to negotiate a meaningful deal, the government should commit to a significant period of transition to manage uncertainty for businesses and bolster confidence.

“Business groups can help with the negotiations over trade, which is the model every other government involved in trade negotiations operates, and we need to be brought in quickly to do this. We need to build a political consensus based on our collective national interest.”

Photo © taaee / 123RF Stock Photo

  • TimeMoneyWorld

    “With less than two years to negotiate a meaningful deal!?

    There is no prospect of a “meanngful deal” because:

    1. Ending membership of the EU is not a UK government or EU decision.

    It is a legal constitutional obligation on the UK government, pursuant to Referendum Act 2015
    and Referendum Result 2016. Not to end the EU membership (100%) the UK government needs to formally anull the Referendum Decision by a duly enacted Act of Parliament. Will the government succeed to pass such act?

    2. The benefits of the EU membership are not available to non-EU members. This should not need to be said, because it’s obvious. And the EU have been repeating this all the time. David Cameron tried to negotiate a “have the cake and eat it deal”, before the referendum, and was told by the EU that it’s either STAY or LEAVE. For this to change would need a change of the EU membership rules. Will they want to do it?

    Leaving the EU does not impose on the UK government any obligations as to what laws it will have after the leave. And they will be able to pass any laws (subject to Parliamentary proceedings) and negotiate any deals with the EU (subject to mutual agreement). And this does not need to be a single deal, but can be idependent deals limited to specific areas of concern, if, as, and when required. And such deals could be the truly meaningful ones.

    But having taken the political posture of a “super deal”, as part of the exit process, which will “unite everybody”, the government has created the present confusion and uncertainty which is to continue.