UK needs ‘whole economy’ approach to Brexit

The business lobby group is calling on government to take a “whole economy” approach to exit talks, following the largest consultation with its members since before the referendum.

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI director-general, said: “The modern UK economy is ever more interconnected. Legislation in one sector can have a knock-on effect in many others. While each sector has issues specific to them, there are many crossovers and common principles that unite them, for example the need to avoid cliff edge changes that cause disruption to supply chains and trade.”

The CBI said companies are concerned about regulatory changes in other sectors that could impact their business. For example:

• The future of financial services regulation could affect the automotive, housing, real estate and retail sectors
• Energy and environmental regulations have an impact on construction, housing, manufacturing and water companies
• Future digital regulations will affect any business that handles data or has an online presence

Large swathes of the UK economy are currently regulated by the EU. If Britain ceases to be a member of these regulatory bodies, the authorisations they provide would lapse, raising questions about the ability of UK firms to continue doing business.

CBI director-general Carolyn Fairbairn said conversations with businesses and trade associations revealed six common priorities:

• A barrier-free relationship with the EU

• A clear plan for regulation

• A migration system which allows businesses to access necessary skills and labour

• A renewed focus on global economic relationships

• An approach that protects the social and economic benefits of EU funding

• A smooth exit from the EU, avoiding a cliff-edge that causes disruption

• A version of this article appeared on WSJ City, a made-for-mobile app that combines the best of the Wall Street Journal and Financial News, tailored for an audience in the City of London. Download here

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