Five business bodies from the UK have written a letter to Business Secretary Greg Clark, asking for access to the European single market till such time that the Brexit deal is cemented. The five bodies making the request are EEF, British Chambers of Commerce, Federation of Small Businesses, Confederation of British Industry and the Institute of Directors. The letter assumes great importance as the formal negotiations for Britain's exit from the EU are beginning today. The business bodies have also asked for the government to give priority to the economy during the negotiations.
Bid to retain economic benefits interim
The business bodies have mentioned that the EU single market has a host of economic benefits to offer, including freedom of movement for capital and people, goods, services and these translate into significant benefits for all market players. In addition, the EU single market also underscores no tariff trading amongst the EU nations, which is another significant advantage. These advantages may be lost once the Brexit becomes official. Until a final decision is arrived upon after negotiations, the business bodies are keen to retain these benefits and this is the reason for the request to keep these in place for now. A call has also been made to consider allowing tariff-free goods trading between the UK and the rest of the EU nations in the negotiations.
Chancellor Hammond all for protecting jobs
Meanwhile, Chancellor Philip Hammond has stated that in his view, priority should be given to keeping employment figures unchanged in the UK. He reassured that a pragmatic approach would be taken in the negotiations with a view to safeguarding the economy in every way possible. He has been pushing for a 'soft' stance that will ensure that close ties between the UK and the EU nations continue to remain in place despite the formal dissociation with the Union.
However, Mrs. May has not given the same impression in her recent Lancaster House speech. She has been quite firm on her stance against the EU single market and UK retaining close access to it. In her election campaign, Mrs. May was quite clear that she would favor 'no deal' over a deal that was inherently bad for the UK. This appears to be veering off the 'soft' approach that Chancellor Hammond is calling for and only when the negotiations are complete will it become clear who has had the last laugh.