Government must agree urgent transition deal with EU, businesses warn

Ministers should delay the 2019 Brexit deadline with a transition deal to ensure there is enough time to strike trade agreements and arrange other matters with the EU, business leaders said today (Friday 4).

A “transition, interim or bridging” arrangement before Britain departs the EU is urgently needed to avoid damaging the economy, the Institute of Directors warned.

The “Bridging the Brexit Gap” report was published the day after the Bank of England cut growth forecasts for this year and next due to Brexit uncertainty hitting consumer spending and business investment.

The report stated: “Given the unprecedented and comprehensive nature of trade negotiations to come, mitigating this risk early on is essential to a smooth exit.”

The institute’s head of trade policy, Allie Renison, said prioritising transitional arrangements would mean “the eventual opportunities aren’t diminished by short-term chaotic cliff edges”.

Meanwhile the aerospace body ADS is calling for Britain to remain a full member of the EU during a transition period.

ADS chief executive Paul Everitt told BBC Newsnight: “When we cease to be an EU member we need to have in place a whole new set of international agreements with, for instance, countries like the US, with Canada and emerging major markets like China, India, Japan.

“So for us the transition period is important and it’s important that during that period we remain an EU member.”

He added: “If we don’t have a transition arrangement and if we aren’t a member of the EU as part of that transitional arrangement, then we have chaos because we don’t have a system to ensure that our products are safe and secure to fly and a regime that is acknowledged around the world.”