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Business welcomes Hammond's comments

Chancellor’s soft Brexit talk eases tensions

Chancellor Philip Hammond eased tensions over Brexit in a statement saying there should be no immediate change to immigration or trading rules when Britain leaves the EU in March 2019.

Mr Hammond has called for a soft Brexit, allowing for a gradual change that would avoid sudden disruptive factors to damage the UK economy.

He said any “transitional deal” in the period after Brexit must end by the time of the next general election and that there must be “business as usual, life as normal” for Britons as the UK exits the EU.

“Many things would look similar” the day after Brexit – on 29 March 2019 – as the UK moved gradually towards a new relationship with the EU, he said in a radio interview.

But he added the transition must end by June 2022, before the next election.

“We’ve been clear that it will be some time before we are able to introduce full migration controls between the UK and the European Union,” he said, adding that the government currently lacked the capacity to monitor EU migrant.

Terry Scuoler, chief executive of EEF, the UK manufacturers’ organisation, said: “Industry has been getting too many mixed messages from Westminster so many will be relieved to hear the Chancellor giving a clear signal about the government’s commitment to transitional arrangements that are realistic, pragmatic and will cause minimal friction.

“Whilst it is a shame a year has been wasted on this and other Brexit related issues, we now need to see this clarified and confirmed as UK government policy. This will enable the UK to move forward in talks with Brussels on other critical issues which affect British business.”

 

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