FSB: Pro-business Brexit must be founded on trade, talent and transition

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The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has welcomed the announcement by the Prime Minister that there will be the ‘best possible’ access to the single market.

In a speech on January 17, Theresa May laid out her 12-point plan for Brexit, which included a pledge to create the best agreement possible for the UK to have access to the single market, without having to pay vast contributions to the EU.

Doug Balderson, Regional Chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses in Greater Lincolnshire and Peterborough, said: “We wanted to see the Prime Minister begin to sketch out a ‘pro-business Brexit’ by addressing trade, talent and transitional arrangements.

“Some 93% of our members export directly to the single market. Our members want to see this bold and ambitious Free Trade Agreement (FTA) so that they can continue to trade and operate within European markets.

“However, we will push the government to guarantee whatever transition process is put in place ensures there is no cliff edge or gap in trade.

“One in five of FSB members export. This could be doubled with the right tailored small business support from the Department for International Trade along with new FTA with the fastest growing markets in the world.

“Global trade will only flourish if the FTA prevent additional barriers, such as cost and paperwork.

“Small employers will welcome the pledge to maintain the UK as a true magnet for international talent.

“We have pressed the government hard to guarantee the right to remain for non-UK EU nationals in existing workforces, and no early cut-off date.

“Any future system must help small firms to easily recruit the right person, for the right job, at the right time.

“The Prime Minister’s other objectives show that there is a clear intention for transitional arrangements beyond the two year fixed period.

“We welcome the legislative certainty that comes with the Great Repeal Bill, to maintain the regulatory framework in the medium-term by incorporating EU law into UK law.

“After that, FSB will push government and Parliament for the radical reform of the regulatory burden for small businesses.”