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It has taken over 3 years and seen off two Prime Ministers but today is the day that the UK finally leaves the EU. During this time UK business have faced uncertainty delaying investment decisions. internationally active businesses have cited uncertainty around Brexit as a barrier to growing their exports.

Despite the exit from the EU being completed, Brexit feels far from done. Attention must move quickly to the future relationship. Steps must be taken to ensure that UK business faces a prosperous future and a strong trading relationship with the EU.

What happens next?

Negotiating priorities need to be on delivering a smooth trading relationship with the Europe, our nearest and biggest trading partner. A comprehensive free trade arrangement with minimal friction would be the best outcome for UK business. However, this will be linked with what can be agreed around regulatory alignment or equivalency, so the likely outcome is still uncertain.  As a deal is struck businesses must be kept informed so they can make adequate preparations once the transition period ends.

Work on a new immigration system is crucial to how business can operate post-Brexit. A points-based system seems to be the most likely outcome. This must be flexible enough to meet the changing requirements of business. The need to fill gaps in the workforce is paramount, regardless of sector and required skill levels.  Any new system must also be fast and affordable with minimal administrative burden on business.

Many businesses are concerned about replacing funding from agencies such as the European Regional Development Fund. More information is needed on the proposed UK Shared Prosperity Fund. How this will deliver a regional funding system for the UK needs to be clarified.  There will also be much to discuss around co-operation in many areas such as security, academic research and climate change. Brexit does not bring an immediate end to the uncertainty of recent years but it does allow for the shape of the future relationship to became more clear in the coming months.

Get heard

If your business has seen the effects of Brexit or you have thoughts on what would help your business grow as the future relationship is developed let us know. Email geoffm@lancschamber.co.uk or call 01772 706582.

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