CBI warns of cost rises if UK strays from EU regulations

CBI warns of cost rises if UK strays from EU regulations

In a new report, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has warned the government that costs could rise for businesses if the UK were to diverge from EU regulations.

The report states that Brexit ‘presents opportunities for rule changes’ in specific sectors, which could ultimately benefit the UK economy.

However, the CBI also warned that the government should only diverge from EU rules if it can be proven that the benefits of doing so will outweigh the costs.

It said that, for certain industries, existing EU rules are ‘fundamental’ to the trade and transport of goods, and as such, remaining aligned with the EU would be ‘essential’.

Commenting on the issue, Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General of the CBI, said: ‘It’s vitally important that negotiators understand the complexity of rules and the effects that even the smallest of changes can have.

‘Deviation from rules in one sector will have a knock-on effect on businesses in others, and divergence from rules in one part of a production process will have consequences for market access throughout entire supply chains.’

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Business groups respond to government’s Brexit transition period agreement

Business groups respond to government’s Brexit transition period agreement

Business groups, including the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and the Institute of Directors (IoD) have responded to the news that the government has agreed terms for the UK’s Brexit transitional period.

The government outlined that the transitional period will last from 29 March 2019, the day when the UK will officially leave the EU, until 31 December 2020. During this transition period, the UK will be permitted to sign its own trade deals, the government said.

Many business groups welcomed the news. Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the BCC, said: ‘This is a milestone that many businesses across the UK have been waiting for. The agreement of a status quo transition period is great news for trading firms on both sides of the Channel, as it means that they will face little or no change in day-to-day business in the short-term.’

The CBI hailed the agreement as a ‘victory for common sense’. Carolyn Fairbairn, its Director General, commented: ‘Agreeing transition is a critical milestone that will provide many hundreds of businesses with the confidence to put their contingency planning on hold and keep investing in the UK.’

Whilst the IoD welcomed the news, it also warned the government that it needs to focus on the ‘finer details and practical implications’ associated with the transition. Allie Renison, Head of Europe and Trade Policy at the IoD, stated: ‘Many businesses will only be able to sufficiently plan and prepare for Brexit once the precise details of the future relationship are known, and any changes to domestic infrastructure, like customs, have been implemented.’

2018 Spring Statement – the business reaction

2018 Spring Statement – the business reaction

Business groups have responded to Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Spring Statement speech.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) gave a broadly positive response, and welcomed the Chancellor’s commitment to tackling the issue of late payments to small firms. Mike Cherry, FSB National Chairman, stated: ‘The Chancellor is absolutely right to commit the government to eliminate the scourge of late payments, which place cruel financial pressure on more than eight out of ten small businesses.

‘The Chancellor explicitly put himself on the side of the UK’s millions of small businesses and self-employed.’

The response from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), however, was decidedly lukewarm. Commenting on the speech, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the BCC, said: ‘As deficit and debt levels improve, the Chancellor must resist calls to pour money into politically-attractive, short-term spending priorities.

‘A far stronger push is needed to fund and fix the fundamentals here in the UK over the coming months, and business wants the Chancellor to use his Autumn Budget to double down and spend to improve digital connectivity, deliver further road and rail improvements, strengthen the UK’s energy security and build more houses.’

Meanwhile, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) praised the Chancellor for backing British businesses to ‘secure the UK’s future prosperity in a new economy’.

Rain Newton-Smith, Chief Economist at the CBI, said: ‘It’s great to see an upgrade in the state of our public finances, and rightly sensible to set more aside for a rainy day with Brexit uncertainty still weighing on the economy.

‘The CBI has long called for just one Budget in a year, creating more room for the government and business to get to work. But the Spring Statement is still important, and this one has proved more than welcome in setting the tone and vision for the country’s economic future.’

CBI survey reveals public confidence in UK businesses has risen significantly

CBI survey reveals public confidence in UK businesses has risen significantly

A survey carried out by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has revealed a significant rise in the number of people who believe UK businesses have a good reputation.

The CBI’s survey compared public perceptions of UK firms between May and November 2017, and found that two in three individuals believe that UK businesses have a good reputation.

It also suggested that members of the general public are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits businesses bring to their local communities.

The main bulk of positive views on UK businesses were given by people aged between 18 and 34: when compared to previous findings, a 15% rise in positive views amongst 18 to 34-year-olds was recorded.

One of the most significant drivers behind the rise in public confidence was having a sense of pride in British business. The quality of UK firms’ goods and services also helped to boost confidence amongst the public, the survey revealed.

Commenting on the findings, Josh Hardie, Deputy Director General of the CBI, said: ‘CBI members are in no doubt: trust underpins growth. A strong relationship between business, employees and consumers will help to increase standards of living. Trust is built on understanding – the more the public see the benefits business brings, the better the relationship.’


 

Business groups respond to publication of Brexit White Paper

Business groups have responded to the government’s recent publication of its Brexit White Paper, which outlines its ambition to create a ‘new, positive and constructive’ partnership between the UK and the EU.

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The White Paper sets out the government’s 12 principles as announced by Prime Minister Theresa May in her Brexit speech last month, in which she pledged to ‘take control of our own laws’ and to ‘trade and do business all around the globe’.

Trade, devolution, immigration and protecting workers’ rights are amongst the 12 principles outlined in the White Paper, and these represent some of the areas up for negotiation with the EU.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) gave a broadly positive response to the publication of the paper. Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director General, stated: ‘We welcome the additional detail that has been given in this White Paper addressing some of our concerns.

‘It is vital that the business voice continues to be heard loud and clear in the UK and across Europe to make a success of Brexit and ensure our future prosperity.’

However, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) gave a decidedly less enthusiastic response. Frances O’Grady, its General Secretary, noted: ‘The White Paper tells us little we did not already know, and still leaves working people exposed to risks to their rights and jobs.

‘The government has set out its aspirations for trade agreements once we’ve left the EU. But there’s little explanation of how jobs and living standards will be kept safe while those deals are negotiated.’

Business groups outline priorities for 2017

Five of the most prominent business groups in the UK have jointly signed a letter outlining their priorities for British businesses across all sectors for 2017.

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The letter, which is signed by the leaders of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), amongst others, outlines the business groups’ intentions to make 2017 ‘a year of progress and success’.

Additionally, it notes that the decisions that will be made during 2017 will affect prospects for individuals, businesses and communities across Britain ‘for generations to come’.

The groups, which also include the Institute of Directors (IoD), the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and manufacturers’ organisation EEF, have pledged to work in conjunction with businesses from ‘all corners of the UK’ in order to help them ‘seize opportunities and overcome the challenges that lie ahead’.

The declaration comes as the Prime Minister prepares to trigger Article 50 – the legal process that will mark the beginning of two years of EU exit talks. The government plans to activate Article 50 by the end of March.

CBI welcomes new government railway initiative

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has welcomed the announcement of a new government initiative to improve rail services by bringing train and track operations closer together.

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Transport Secretary Chris Grayling announced the plans, which include the closer alignment of incentives between the management of infrastructure and the operation of train services, and the creation of East West Rail, a new integrated rail operation which will provide a link between Oxford and Cambridge.

Mr Grayling said: ‘East West Rail will provide a commuter route for the crucial centres on its route and will provide the transport spine for additional housing and business development in a corridor which is one of the government’s priority areas for the future of our country.

‘We want to see closer working across the industry, to resolve problems more quickly – putting the needs of the passenger first.’

Better operation is intended to be achieved through new rail franchises, the first of which will be on the South Eastern and East Midlands lines. The franchises are due to be awarded in 2018.

Rhian Kelly, CBI Infrastructure Director, said: ‘Day in, day out, Britain’s businesses rely on our railways to move their goods, services and people up and down the country, so the government’s focus on improving the network is welcome news. Bringing track and train operations closer together should mean more efficient delivery of investment and better outcomes for people and businesses.’