The government urgently needs to provide certainty over the UK’s future arrangements with the EU otherwise British and foreign firms will have to make cuts regardless of the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, according to manufacturers.
Speaking in Strasbourg, Terry Scuoler, chief executive of manufacturers’ organisation EEF, warned that British firms face a ‘tipping point’ well before the end of the article 50 negotiations on March 2019, when they need to know with certainty the details of the future relationship between the EU and UK.
He said, “The UK Chancellor, Philip Hammond, speaking in Germany last week, set out a vision for growth in the UK and in Europe. He was right to highlight our joint interests amid the complexity of the Brexit negotiations. Many of our industries are interconnected.
“UK businesses need to know soon what arrangements will be in place after March 2019, to be able to plan, make investment decisions and have confidence that an orderly and carefully managed approach to Brexit is underway.
“If they don’t have that assurance there will come a tipping point, sometime in 2018, when boards in the UK and elsewhere will need to make decisions based on the state of the negotiations at that point. They cannot wait until the end of the process for confirmation of a deal on our departure or future trading relationship.
“They need to know much sooner what transitional arrangements will be in place, and for how long. A failure to do so will damage our collective economic interests, a situation which would be as tragic as it would harmful.”