The Confederation of British Industry has called for tariff- and barrier-free access to the EU Single Market should the UK leave the European Union.
In a letter to The Times, CBI Director-General Carolyn Fairbairn wrote that the Government “must act with urgency to minimize the uncertainties that affect investment decisions and slow job creation.” She also said that the CBI would write to the Prime Minister, the Department for Business, and the Treasury to outline the priorities for achieving this.
According to Fairbairn, the UK must now agree the principles that will underpin its new relationship with Europe and the rest of the world. In turn, “the Government should resolve publicly to preserve the openness of the UK’s economy, one of its greatest strengths.”
“In practice, this means seeking to protect tariff- and barrier-free access to the single market of 500 million consumers. It means ensuring companies are able to continue to attract the best people to the UK with the skills we need, while recognizing public concerns about immigration. And, it means setting out clearly how the UK will agree the right international trade deals with the wider world,” she explained.
Fairbairn added that the Government must also move swiftly to remove uncertainties over the long-term right to stay in the UK for those already working in the country. She said that businesses welcome Prime Minister David Cameron’s announcement of a delay in triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty – the process by which a member state can leave the EU – but stressed that they will need clarity on the future of the Government itself.
Cameron has said that he will step down as Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative party. The 1922 Committee of backbench Conservative MPs – responsible for setting the process whereby the party elects a new leader – has set a deadline for nominations of June 29, and said that a new leader should be in place by September 2 at the latest.
“No one pretends that this transition will be easy or that the change will be pain free. But now is the time for businesses across Britain to come together in partnership with government and communities to turn the will of the British people into a new set of world relationships that benefit everyone,” Fairbairn concluded.