Saturday 3 December 2016

UK to trigger formal move to leave EU in New Year - Kenny tells business leaders

Published 15/09/2016 | 20:20

Taoiseach Enda Kenny offered to meet opposition leaders on Thursday to identify areas of public concern around the deal
Taoiseach Enda Kenny offered to meet opposition leaders on Thursday to identify areas of public concern around the deal

The UK will trigger a formal move to leave the European Union early in the New Year, Enda Kenny has told business leaders in Dublin.

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The formal application to exit the EU under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty will officially begin Britain's separation from the union.

Once triggered Britain will have just two years to negotiate a new deal with the remaining 27 members. Since the June 23 vote in the UK any plan by the British government to trigger the formal exit has remained a mystery.

However, speaking in Dublin Enda Kenny said he believes the crucial step will be taken within months. He said that view was based on talks with British cabinet ministers who have visited Dublin in the past week.

"My assumption from speaking to to Secretary (David) Davis and (James) Brokenshire is that that will be early in the New Year," the Taoiseach told executives at employers' group Ibec's annual dinner.

At the event Enda Kenny gave the clearest signal yet that the special VAT rate for hotels, pubs and restaurants will be kept in next month's Budget.

But he warned it will be ditched if prices are not passed on to customers.

"I just hope that that is not killed by bad perception in some cases."

"I do hope that the industry recognises what it's got. These policies are being supported by the taxpayer in good faith," he warned.

But he indicated that the special rate will be kept provided that prices remain competitive.

The reduced 9pc VAT rate for tourism inked services was brought in after the crash to prop up a sector reeling from a collapse in domestic and international customer demand.

The Restaurants Association has claimed as many as 31,000 jobs have been created as a result of the move. However the need for the special measure has been questioned, especially in Dublin where a scarcity of hotel rooms has seen prices rise regardless of the lower rate leading to complaints some businesses are pocketing the benefits.

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