The Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), Dr Adam Marshall has welcomed the end to the Westminster deadlock on Brexit but said there was still a long way to go for businesses.
He was speaking after last Friday’s vote on the Government’s Brexit Withdrawal Bill, which was the first step towards leaving the EU on 31 January. The bill will now undergo further scrutiny in Parliament at the beginning of January.
Dr Marshall said: “An end to the deadlock in Westminster will provide some relief for business – but it’s just the first step down a long road for our business communities. Getting the detail of Brexit right is far more important than simply getting it done.
“Unless a comprehensive UK-EU trade agreement is in place by the end of next year, businesses could once again face a cliff-edge – and seismic changes to trading conditions equivalent to a no-deal exit.
“Ministers must urgently consult businesses communities throughout the UK and British firms operating in Europe, to ensure that the new relationship meets real-world needs rather than short-term political objectives.
“They must also provide answers on what additional procedures – and therefore costs – businesses could face when trading between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, particularly in the unwelcome event that a new agreement cannot be reached in the next 12 months.
“Getting the next stage of Brexit right requires a real partnership with business. Confidence, investment and the prosperity of many parts of the United Kingdom depend on getting the details right in the New Year.”