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UK is open for business, Sajid Javid tells industry leaders

Published 28/06/2016

Business Secretary Sajid Javid is to sit down with members of the business community.
Business Secretary Sajid Javid is to sit down with members of the business community.

The Business Secretary has assured industry leaders that the UK is "open for business" and announced moves to calm fears about the impact of Brexit.

Sajid Javid said the Government remained 100% committed to making the UK the best place in Europe to start and grow a business.

He met with business groups and company executives to discuss the challenges and opportunities of the historic vote to leave the EU.

Mr Javid said the biggest issue raised at the meeting was the need to secure continued access to the single market.

"My number one priority will be just that in the negotiations to come," he said.

He announced that he will be leading a series of trade missions to meet inward investors while Trade Minister Lord Price will be visiting countries including China, Hong Kong and Brazil.

Mr Javid said he had been contacted by officials in Australia and South Korea in recent days wanting trade talks.

Business Department officials will be visiting businesses across the UK to answer any concerns, and Mr Javid said he will be talking to the TUC because unions had an "important" part to play.

Mr Javid said the UK economy remained "fundamentally strong" and was well placed to deal with challenging times.

He said firms wanted information on what will happen now and whether current rules and regulations still applied.

"This is the very beginning of the process. Negotiations will take place and we will see what materialises.

"Companies have asked if the Government is committed to infrastructure projects - and we are. Our programme has not changed."

Mr Javid said the Government's package of support for Tata Steel was still in place.

"If a viable plan comes forward to secure the long-term viability of the business it is possible for the Government to help. That has not changed."

Mr Javid said investors had reaffirmed their commitment to the UK.

"For example, Huawei has today confirmed to Government that its planned £1.3 billion investment in the UK will go ahead. The referendum will make no difference to that commitment.

"Numerous other companies have offered us staff to help with negotiations.

"We've had offers of support with surveys and intelligence gathering.

"Again and again we have heard business leaders mirroring the Government's position - that they are determined to make this work. Although many were shocked by the result, they are all doing what British businesses have always done."

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI director general said: "The UK has a long history of being an open and collaborative trading nation and that must continue.

"The Government must communicate and demonstrate that the UK is open for business and investment, including by keeping critical infrastructure projects and spending decisions on track.

"We must give urgent long-term reassurance to the thousands of EU migrants already working in the UK that they can stay here.

"A visible commitment to openness must be at the heart of our new relationship with the EU. In practice this means tariff and barrier free access to the single market; maintaining trade deals around the world; attracting and keeping skills; and working out the trade-offs between these three."

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