Businesses want more clarity about Brexit transition period

Businesses across the UK are asking for more clarity regarding what they can expect during the Brexit transition.

The CBI said on Friday that “concrete assurances” will build confidence and help firms in the UK and Europe pause contingency planning.

The EU Commission and UK Government published a joint paper confirming agreement on key issues, such as citizens’ rights, UK relationship with Ireland and the financial settlement.

The joint paper states both sides seek “agreement as early as possible in 2018 on transitional arrangement”.

A transitional arrangement would allow businesses in both the UK and EU to adapt to any new future economic relationship between Britain and the bloc.

The EU is proposing that Britain continue to be a member of the Single Market and stay in the Customs Union, with all its rights and obligations, until a new deal is in force.

The CBI said: “What continues to remain unclear is the length of time these transitional arrangements will be for. This should become clear swiftly, as the guidelines call on the Commission to put forward recommendations to this effect, and on the Council to adopt additional negotiating directives on transitional arrangements as soon as possible.”

Stephen Martin, director-general of the Institute of Directors (IoD), said that for firms it’s urgent to know about the future of EU workers in the UK.

Martin was quoted by the BBC as saying:

“We have grounds to hope now that our members will be able to send their employees off for the Christmas break feeling more comfortable about their status here,” he said. “We look forward to further clarity about what the UK’s objectives are for that new relationship, as well as a firm commitment on transition in the very near future.”