LONDON: The British government on Tuesday said it was forming an advisory group, reportedly made up of the country’s main business lobby organisations, as it negotiates its exit from the European Union.
Business Secretary Greg Clark said “the government is creating a new EU exit business advisory group to ensure business is not only heard but is influential throughout the negotiations”.
Reports said the advisory group would be made up of five bodies: the Confederation of Business Industry, manufacturers’ grouping the EEF, the British Chambers of Commerce, the Institute of Directors and the Federation of Small Businesses.
“Since the referendum I’ve held discussions with businesses, workers and local leaders across the UK and investors all around the world,” Clark added in his statement.
“These will continue over the coming months, including my weekly meetings with the director generals of the five main business organisations.”
British business leaders have for months urged the government to rule out a hard break with the European Union that would see Britain’s departure from the single market or tariff-free zone, while also ending the free movement of people.
They have argued also that uncertainty over the terms of Brexit was impacting investment decisions — and warned against a situation where Britain leaves the EU single market without having a new trade deal in place that would mean reverting to trading under World Trade Organization rules.
But since Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative party lost its parliamentary majority in Britain’s snap general election this month, the prospect of a hard Brexit has waned.