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Government urged to give ‘iron-clad guarantee’ it will avoid no-deal

The director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce said a no-deal would be an act of negligence.

A view of the City of London at dusk (Martin Keene/PA)
A view of the City of London at dusk (Martin Keene/PA)

By Alan Jones, PA Industrial Correspondent

The Government has been urged to give business an “iron-clad guarantee” that it will not seek to take the UK out of the EU without a deal on October 31.

Dr Adam Marshall, director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce said while the parliamentary drama continues, in the ”real world” businesses are waiting anxiously for a clear outcome.

“In the coming days the onus is on the Government to answer the many questions businesses are posing on the Prime Minister’s deal – and its potential impact on trade, investment, communities and jobs,” he said.

Getting a Brexit deal is far more important than simply getting it done Adam Marshall, British Chambers of Commerce

“At such a critical moment in the process, the Government must give business an iron-clad guarantee that it will not seek to take the UK out of the EU without a deal on October 31.

“Getting a Brexit deal is far more important than simply getting it done.

“Allowing the UK to slide towards a Halloween no-deal, whether by design or disarray, would be an act of economic and political negligence.

“As frustrating as it would be to many in business, a short extension to unlock a comprehensive solution and a smooth transition is still infinitely preferable to an overnight economic shock.”

Sir Oliver Letwin’s successful amendment has put a hurdle in the way of Boris Johnson as he tries to get his EU deal through.

Ian Wright, chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation, said: “Everybody has had enough of the Brexit debate.

“It is, though, vital that we didn’t allow the fact that the nation is exhausted to mean we sleepwalk into mistakes that will haunt the UK economy for a generation.

“We welcome the Letwin amendment.

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Sir Oliver Letwin (right) passed his amendment on Boris Johnson’s deal (House of Commons/PA)

“The most urgent priority for the food and drink industry has been to prevent a no-deal exit from the EU on October 31.

“The Letwin amendment does that job.

“We welcome more time to scrutinise the new Brexit deal and the legislation designed to enact it.

“We must also make sure the implementation period is adequate to pass the necessary UK legislation and for businesses to fully adapt.

“It is important that all of the consequences, including the damaging loss of frictionless trade and regulatory divergence with the EU that the new deal heralds, are properly understood before MPs make their decision.”

Mike Cherry, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “Many small business owners will groan with frustration at the continued uncertainty over a Brexit deal.

“But the important thing now is for MPs to focus next week on finding a way forward once and for all, which avoids leaving without a deal on October 31 and secures a transition period.

“The prolonged period of uncertainty caused by the political stalemate has left small firms in limbo, with investment plans on hold and confidence low.

“This can’t drag on. The Government and Parliament must now work together to ensure there is a deal which secures sufficient time for small businesses to adapt to the longer-term arrangements with the EU.”

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