Liberal Democrats are increasing seen as the only political party for business.
But, to enable us to maximise our support for business, it is vital that we listen to, and work with, businesses and business organisations from all sectors.
A Perfect Storm
The Conservative Government’s reaction to the referendum result is creating a perfect storm;
- The decision to seek to make the decision on a deal with the EU one for government alone; without a meaningful vote by either parliament or the people
- The decision to go for “hard” Brexit with an immediate rejection of the Single Market and Customs Union has caused deep concern among the business community.
With Labour in disarray and providing no effective opposition, the Liberal Democrats are left as the only real UK-wide voice that will hold the Government to account.
As part of our on-going gathering of business views to inform how we respond to the Brexit negotiations, we held a highly successful Brexit and Business day at the beginning of February. We spoke to representatives from many sectors ranging from food to construction.
We identified 5 shared concerns:
- Securing barrier-free ability to move goods, services and capital across Europe
- Developing an immigration plan that supports continued access to skills and labour from across the EU combined increased emphasis on the improving the UK’s own skills base.
- Securing regulatory co-operation with a clear transition plan
- Protection of the social and economic benefits provided by EU funding
- Creation and communication of a clear transition plan that avoids a ‘cliff-edge’
The key message to us from Business
There needs to be a strong business voice at the table from the UK.
Strong diplomacy and a positive influence in Europe is critical to getting the best deal for the UK.
The Liberal Vision
The day only re-enforced the importance of the Liberal Democrats’ priority areas:
- Continued access to the single market and customs union
- The “Right to Remain” for EU nationals
- People should have a final say on the end deal
We will now be:
- partnering closely with businesses and business organisations to ensure their voice is heard in the negotiations and to develop “success criteria” for the Brexit deal as well as to help us develop policies, from taxation to skills development, to help UK businesses survive and grow.
- working tirelessly to ensure that any final deal advances rather than sets back Britain’s economy.