Belfast Telegraph

Manufacturers in plea to MPs: Protect our industry in Brexit plan

The Government is being urged not to rush through a "clumsy" Brexit plan amid calls for manufacturers to retain access to the single market.

Protecting industry will be "critical" in the negotiations to leave the EU and firms must continue to be able to employ workers from other European countries, said the EEF.

A survey of 2,000 members of the public by the manufacturers' group found that only 5% believed that damaging the sector was a price worth paying for leaving the EU.

The EEF urged ministers to "hold their nerve" and work out a plan to help manufacturing companies cope with life outside the EU.

There could be opportunities to trade with other countries post-Brexit, said the EEF.

Chief executive Terry Scuoler said: "Rushing through a clumsy Brexit is not in the interests of our sector or the wider UK economy.

"The Prime Minister is right to hold her nerve and to allow adequate time for the UK's negotiation strategy to be developed in close consultation with business to ensure the UK's long-term economic interests are not harmed.

"Manufacturers see great opportunity for jobs, growth and wealth generation from the expansion of global trade outside of the EU.

"The negotiations will inevitably require compromise, but manufacturing has a key role to play in the success of post-Brexit Britain.

"I would urge the Prime Minister to ensure that any new relationship works for our sector. This means maintaining unrestricted access to the single market and ensuring companies have the ability to hire and post employees across the EU - albeit with more controls in place."

Rob Elvin, of law firm Squire Patton Boggs, which helped with the report, added: "While our ability to trade freely with Europe is naturally of immediate concern to UK manufacturers, Brexit has provided an opportunity to create a longer term vision for international trade."