Responding to UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit speech in which she confirmed the UK would leave the Single Market, Mike Cherry, National Chairman at the Federation of Small Businesses, who was at the speech said:
"The announcement is the starting point for a pro-business Brexit. We now want to see concerted action to address trade, talent and transitional arrangements.
“93 per cent of our exporting 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 (21%) FSB members export. This could be doubled with the right tailored small business support from the Department for International Trade along with new FTAs with the fastest growing markets in the world. Global trade will only flourish if the FTAs 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.”
As the UK negotiating team assembles, evidence from FSB's Brexit research programme will inform their work. Our job will be to make sure the voice of UK small business is heard in all these areas.