Tuesday 27 June 2017
Listen to businesses in Brexit negotiations warns new LCCI report
London businesses have retained a pragmatic and level-headed approach to Brexit but have growing concerns about potential barriers to future trade and the capital's pressing 'domestic' policy agenda being overlooked.
The points were in a new report Moving Towards Brexit published today by London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).
LCCI found that avoiding adding additional barriers to trade after Brexit was the main priority for businesses; in particular this related to new non-tariff barriers such as procedures, quotas and product standards but also to aviation and the ability to swiftly move goods and people into the single market.
Chambers members are in general agreement with the broad aims expressed by Westminster - to pursuing the 'freest and most frictionless trade possible'.
However there are areas of concern that still requiring immediate clarification such as migration - businesses acknowledge they have a role to play in up-skilling the domestic workforce but this will take time, however given already chronic skills shortages, London employers believe they must be to continue to hire workers from the EU.
The polling of more than 500 businesses by ComRes found:
- 70% of London businesses believe minimising customs procedures on trade with the EU is important
- 68% said minimising import/export licensing requirements was important
- 66% find it important to minimise restrictions on the quantity of goods that can be traded with the EU
- 74% think that international students graduating from UK universities should be allowed to stay in the UK for a period of time
Chief Executive of LCCI Colin Stanbridge said: "Our report, coming as the first anniversary of the Referendum is upon us, and with Brexit negotiations underway, provides evidence based points for our politicians - in Westminster and City Hall - to reflect on.
"If customs procedures between the UK and EU end-up being reintroduced, innovative or technological solutions must be considered to prevent queues and costly delays at the points of entry. The UK Government, as well as EU counterparts, will need to invest adequately in the infrastructure required to enable that.
"There is broad agreement among the capital's businesses that Brexit should not distract from addressing London's pressing policy agenda, notably with regards to progressing infrastructure projects like Crossrail Two".
Other report recommendations include:
- The Government should commit to progressing London Strategic Infrastructure Projects (LSIPs) including Crossrail 2, fixed river crossings in East London and a new runway at Gatwick, after Heathrow.
- A funding "cliff-edge" for businesses in receipt of EU funding should be avoided.
- Access to the EU single aviation market should be negotiated as a matter of priority, as well as deals with countries that currently have air transport agreements with the EU.
- Business should be provided with clear timelines, so they can prepare adequately for the effects of any changes. Once the new arrangements with the EU are agreed, they should be implemented gradually.
- A 'grandfathering' approach towards existing EU free trade agreements should be encouraged and supported to ensure that, post-Brexit, UK businesses can continue to trade on preferential terms.
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NOTES TO EDITOR:
1. LCCI is the capital's most representative business organisation, with members ranging in size from multi-national companies to SMEs and sole traders.
2. Colin Stanbridge, Chief Executive, is available for further comment and interview.
3. For the Permits Points and Visas report on immigration click here
4. For the LCCI's first Brexit report published in October 2016 click here
5. For the full report, Moving Towards Brexit, click here