Business leaders in Greater Birmingham say there are “many areas” which require more clarity before they are satisfied with Theresa May’s approach towards Brexit. The Prime Minster set out her negotiating priorities as part of a 12-point Brexit plan – stating that trade, defence, immigration and law enforcement would be at the forefront. Mrs May confirmed Britain will seek a deal within two years but promised a “phased approach to implementation.”
She said also confirmed Parliament will vote on the final deal.
Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce chief executive Paul Faulkner welcomed the Prime Minister’s promise of a phased approach but said more clarity is required number of issues, including movement of people and which industries will be prioritised in the new trade deal.
He said: “Theresa May might not be a fan of the term, but her speech today has confirmed that we are heading towards a ‘hard Brexit’. We will be leaving the single market.
“To an extent businesses will value the greater clarity on the UK’s objectives in Brexit negotiations. It will aid in scenario planning. However, ultimately the decision does not lie with Theresa May, but in the decision of the 27 other member states of the EU.
“Theresa May’s intention to negotiate a phased approach to implementation of the final deal is welcome.
“However there are many areas where businesses would like to see more clarity. We have many key industries and anchor institutions driving growth in the region who benefit from access to the single market, complete access to the customs union and access to talent through free movement of people.
“It was reassuring to hear her name-check the automotive industry, research, science and technology but more information is needed.
“Our questions to the Government are clear: if free movement of people is to end, what will the Government implement in its place to ensure our businesses can access the skills and talent they need?
“If the UK is to leave the single market and negotiate a new trade deal, which industries will they prioritise? If we are to negotiate a new deal on the customs union, what parts are the Government seeking to retain?”