Belfast Telegraph

Chancellor wins praise from business for softly, softly approach to trade after Brexit

By Arj Singh

Chancellor Philip Hammond has been praised by business leaders and supporters of a ‘soft Brexit’ for emphasising the need to put jobs and prosperity first when negotiating Britain’s exit from the European Union.

Mr Hammond also drew plaudits for stressing the importance of transitional arrangements to avoid a “cliff edge” Brexit, including the maintenance of “frictionless” customs union border arrangements for an “implementation period” after leaving.

In a keynote speech to City leaders at Mansion House, the Chancellor again signalled his soft Brexit credentials by stressing Britain would leave the EU “in a way that prioritises British jobs and underpins Britain’s prosperity”.

Part of this will include ensuring immigration is managed but not “shut down”, Mr Hammond said, as he stressed that boosting growth is the only way to end the “hard slog” of austerity.

Soft Brexit advocates including Liberal Democrat leadership candidate Sir Vince Cable and senior Labour MP Chuka Umunna urged others in government to take note of Mr Hammond’s approach.

Financial services lobby group TheCityUK, the Federation of Small Businesses and the Institute of Directors were among the industry voices who backed the Chancellor’s focus on the economy.

Bank of England governor Mark Carney also delivered a speech at the Mansion House yesterday, where he ruled out an interest rates rise.

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