Thursday 18 January 2018

Three-year transition wanted by UK bosses

'While the UK cabinet seems to have struck an agreement to push for a transition, there remains disagreement over how long it should run.' Stock photo: PA
'While the UK cabinet seems to have struck an agreement to push for a transition, there remains disagreement over how long it should run.' Stock photo: PA

Simon Kennedy

British business leaders have urged Prime Minister Theresa May to seek a three-year transitional period after Brexit, warning failure to buy time for such an adjustment would jeopardise "our collective prosperity".

The move won support here yesterday from employers' group Ibec, whose CEO, Danny McCoy, said the risk of a "divisive, cliff-edge divorce" must be avoided.

In a letter organised by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), executives from 120 businesses with more than one million employees yesterday warned political leaders of a so-called cliff edge in which Britain leaves the European Union in March 2019 without a new trade deal or enough time for companies to adjust.

Signatories included representatives of Centrica, Zurich Insurance, Johnson & Johnson and Harrods.

"Our businesses need to make decisions now about investment and employment that will affect economic growth and jobs in the future," the letter said. "Continuing uncertainty will adversely affect communities, employees, firms and our nations in the future."

While the UK cabinet seems to have struck an agreement to push for a transition, there remains disagreement over how long it should run.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond has sided with business in suggesting three years, while others such as Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Trade Secretary Liam Fox are reported to favour a shorter timeframe.

Mrs May is set to update her Brexit strategy on Friday in a speech in Florence, days after Mr Hammond recommended a "status quo" transition. (Bloomberg)

Irish Independent

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