A Brexit Breakthrough – Now For The Hard Bit
The EEF, The Manufacturers’ Organisation, is the representing voice of British manufacturing, both in the UK and Europe, and with Brexit dominating the headlines the EEF have been playing a significant role in making post-Brexit Britain a success. CEO of FashionCapital and Fashion Enter Ltd, Jenny Holloway, is a member of the EEF’s ‘Manufacturers’ Brexit Virtual Group’ which meets, discusses and advises on industry policy to ensure the best outcome for the manufacturing sector.
After a poor start the UK has made sufficient progress in phase one of complex Brexit negotiations, by reaching agreement with the EU on the three key tests:
– Citizens’ rights
– Divorce bill
– Ireland/Northern Ireland border
After months of deadlock it was vital for manufacturing industry in the UK and across the EU to hear that talks would begin on transition arrangements ahead of the UK leaving the EU in March 2019, as well as our future long term partnership or trading arrangements.
While it’s good that talks can begin on the transition deal, at this point industry is no clearer what the terms of UK/EU trading relationship will be in March 2019. Therefore the UK and EU must move quickly to provide absolute clarity and certainty for industry in the short term. The EEF want assurances that the implementation period will mean business as usual for UK and other EU states, despite the political changes to the relationship.
Progress on citizens’ rights was very welcome indeed; manufacturers rely on skilled workers – frequently from the EU – to plug the UK’s longstanding and serious skills gap and enable productivity, innovation and growth. Many employers have been dealing with the confusion and uncertainty felt by their EU employees. That’s why the EEF and others called for a very quick resolution of the status of EU nationals in the UK. It’s critical now that the Government continues to reassure EU citizens working in the UK that their future here is secure.
Manufacturers have a vested interest in ensuring the Government negotiates a deal that supports their trade and growth ambitions and allows our sector to play a significant role in making post-Brexit Britain a success. While the latest phase of negotiations have been welcomed by the manufacturing sector, now the hard work really begins.