What do SMEs want from Brexit negotiations?

posted by 4 years ago in News

Brexit talks got underway in Brussels last week with Brexit Secretary David Davis declaring that he will seek “a deal that works in the best interests of all citizens”.

So, what would that deal look like for small and medium sized business owners in the UK?

Business groups and commentators have been vocal about what they want to see negotiated including minimal barriers to trade and access to skilled talent.

Research involving interviews with mid-sized companies has revealed that most of them would prefer to remain in the single market. However, the working paper which was published in June by the Harvard Kennedy School points out that remaining in the single market would be “extremely difficult to reconcile with the political constraints in the UK and EU.” Authors of the paper which quizzed over 50 businesses, included the former Chancellor, Ed Balls, and Peter Sands, former chairman of Standard Chartered.

The Queen’s speech last week set out a programme of reform for the next two years to prepare the UK to leave the European Union.

Responding to the comments about Brexit, Mike Cherry, National Chairman at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said:

“The raft of Brexit Bills announced must prioritise free and easy trade, and ensure small firms can access the skills and labour they need after the UK leaves the EU. It’s good to see the commitment to special support to help British businesses export to new markets around the world, which we look forward to engaging with the government on. Small firms will be looking to the Immigration Bill to provide the UK with an immigration system that is responsive to the needs of employers, and there should be a transition period to any new system of at least three years after Brexit.

“The Bill to repeal the European Communities Act gives certainty to small businesses in the short-term that Brexit will not mean sudden big changes in regulation. On this, it is vital that there is no cliff-edge moment, even though in the long term Brexit provides an opportunity to simplify complicated Brussels processes to make rules much easier to comply with.”

The next round of talks will begin on 17th July with the Article 50 deadline set for March 2019.