As the Prime Minister triggers Article 50, formally starting the process of the UK leaving the EU, Greater Manchester Chamber members have given their thoughts on what they see as being priority points in the negotiations over the coming two years.
Originally drafted in response to the Prime Minister’s January speech when Mrs May set out her 12-point plan for Brexit, the Chamber has been asking its members about key issues ranging from continuing membership of the single market and customs union to the Prime Minister’s stated position that no deal is better than a bad deal.
The Chamber’s position statement covers nine main points of most relevance to business and includes a call for the incorporation of all European law into British law to provide stability and continuity; recognition of the rights of EU citizens resident in the UK before the referendum; a visa-free travel system and a call that unless deals are in place at the point of exit then membership of the single market and customs union should remain.
Chris Fletcher, Marketing & Policy Director at Greater Manchester Chamber, said: “From Wednesday onwards Brexit suddenly becomes very real. In the months following the referendum there has been very little factual content and a lot of guess work and theories about what may or may not happen. With Article 50 being triggered the theorising has to stop and government’s minds must be fully focused on the next two years to make sure that the UK exits the EU with a workable and effective deal in place.
“Our members have made it clear that whilst in pre-referendum surveys there was a majority that wanted to remain, now the process has started they want the exit to be delivered as swiftly and efficiently as possible, but taking into account several key areas which they see as ‘must-haves’.
“Overall there has to be a deal in place at the conclusion of the negotiations. Whilst the Prime Minister felt it was right to set out a position of saying ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’ either one of these would be seen as a failure. If that means negotiations take longer than expected but this results in the right deal for the UK, then that is acceptable.
“As we have done throughout this process we will continue to monitor everything that happens and make sure our members and the wider business community here in Greater Manchester can have their say.”
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