Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said:
“The Prime Minister’s speech rightly sets the bar high for the economy and jobs.
“We heard the strongest acknowledgment yet of what’s needed to get a good deal. A possible future role for the ECJ, membership of some EU agencies, willingness to take steps to guarantee a level playing field – these are all welcome softening of red lines. They will make a good deal more achievable.
“But more is needed to lift the fog of uncertainty and we welcome the PM’s call to ‘get on with it’. This is all about delivery, with three top priorities.
“First, transition. The Prime Minister’s commitment to agreeing a transition period by the end of March is vital because firms are making decisions on investment today.
“Second, alignment with EU rules. On data flows, mobility of people, qualifications and standards, the Government has moved in the right direction. Sectors like medicines, chemicals, energy and aerospace will be reassured, but others like food and drink will be wondering why they have been left on the side-lines.
“Third, customs. The Prime Minister has the right objectives for trade in goods that is as frictionless as possible and no hardening of the Irish border. But the customs proposals the Government has put forward so far do not deliver.
“Business is committed to helping secure the best possible Brexit deal for the UK, and to offering its expertise and support over the coming vital weeks and months.”
Notes to Editors:
The CBI first called for a comprehensive customs union in January 2018. The CBI also backed a status quo transition in July 2017.