Fylde coast business leaders call for orderly Brexit talks

Prime Minister Theresa May singing the letter to trigger Article 50
Prime Minister Theresa May singing the letter to trigger Article 50

In the wake of the letter triggering Article 50 being sent to Brussels, local business leaders have urged Prime Minister Theresa May to put trade at the heart of Brexit talks.

The call comes amid speculation and uncertainty over the terms of any deals Britain might sign outside the single market.

Babs Murphy, chief executive of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce said: “Businesses across Lancashire with their customers and suppliers in Europe want real answers to practical questions, not political posturing.

“A rational and grown-up dialogue on the real-world issues, rather than verbal volleys between London and Brussels, would give firms greater confidence over the next two years.”

She added: “In the early stages of negotiations, businesses would like to see an effort to secure simultaneous exit and trade talks. Concluding exit and trade negotiations at the same time would moderate adjustment costs for UK businesses, and enable trade between UK and EU firms to continue with less disruption.

“It is critical that the Government remembers that Brexit is not the only thing on the minds of the business community.”

​Mike Cherry, national chairman at the Federation of Small Businesses said: “Now that Article 50 has been triggered, it is time for the Government to work towards a pro-business Brexit and give small firms some clarity on how leaving the EU will impact their businesses.

“Access to the right skills at the right time is crucial for the success of a small business. A fifth of FSB members with staff employ non-UK EU citizens, workers that are vital to the UK economy.

“The Government must push for a comprehensive free trade agreement based on ease and cost, and then support small firms to take advantage of new trade agreements with priority markets around the world.

Bob Ward, North West Senior Partner at EY said: “Talking to businesses in the North West a strong early signal in the negotiations that both sides are committed to an orderly and phased-in Brexit deal, would go some way to provide reassurances.”

See also: Blackpool tourism to benefit from Brexit effect