Government warned on lack of unity on Brexit

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has written to the Prime Minister, making an urgent appeal for clarity on the Government’s objectives in relation to Brexit.

The letter, from Director-General Adam Marshall & President Francis Martin, urges the Government to make key choices and deliver a clear statement of intent – so that businesses can make decisions for the future.  It warns that patience is wearing thin due to the continued divisions in Cabinet.

Extracts from the letter are below.

“In Chamber business communities across the UK, there are a range of views on the UK’s future relationship with the EU.  As a consequence, the BCC has refrained from entering into the noisy political debate on the shape of the final settlement in. We have instead emphasised the need for answers to the many practical questions businesses now face.

“Businesses need those elected to govern our country to make choices — and to deliver a clear, unequivocal statement of intent. The perception amongst businesses on the ground, large and small alike, is one of continued division. Even amongst the many optimistic, future-oriented firms — those who see opportunity in change — patience is wearing thin. Directly-affected companies are poised to activate contingency plans. Many others, worryingly, have simply disengaged.

“Clear UK negotiating objectives are crucial to both business and public confidence.  While the BCC has campaigned strongly in favour of a status-quo transition period, to give businesses time to plan for change, this transition must lead to a clear endpoint. There is no room for continued ambiguity as companies make investment and hiring decisions. The government must set out its plans.”

Francis Martin is the elected, non-executive President of the British Chambers of Commerce, and the first in the 158-year-old organisation’s history from Northern Ireland. He is a partner and former Managing Partner (2008-2013) of BDO Northern Ireland, a member of the global accountancy and business advisory firm.