Business groups step up Brexit demands as May triggers departure

(c) Sky News 2017: <a href="">Business groups step up Brexit demands as May triggers departure</a>

Leading business groups in the UK and Europe will plead this week for a smooth Brexit based on a commitment to free trade amid renewed warnings about the consequences of failing to secure a deal.

Sky News understands that BusinessEurope, which represents organisations such as the CBI and its counterparts on the Continent, will issue a statement on Wednesday urging the UK and Europe to focus on securing a new agreement during the next two years.

The statement will come as Theresa May orchestrates the historic move to trigger Article 50, meaning that the UK‎ will leave the EU in the spring of 2019.

Separately, the CBI's network of regional directors are writing to hundreds‎ of MPs (BSE: MPSLTD.BO - news) to call for "an ambitious agreement with the EU that ensures we avoid new barriers to trade and a smooth process without a cliff-edge".

In their letter, a copy of which has been seen by Sky News, the CBI chiefs calls on parliamentarians to ensure that the forthcoming Great Repeal Bill "prioritises stability in the first instance" in order that businesses "know the rules [they] will be following the day the UK leaves the EU".

The CBI's latest intervention comes as industry lobbying groups across the economy step up their efforts to be recognised with bespoke agreements.

The financial services, automotive and pharmaceuticals sectors have all argued that their contributions to the UK economy means they warrant special recognition by Mrs May's government.

The CBI letter acknowledges the Government "will need to design a new migration system [that] enables companies to hire the people they need to fill the vacancies they face".

It also calls for employees from across the EU to be given reassurance about their ability to remain in the UK after Brexit.

A CBI spokesman said: "We are currently in the process of writing to a number of MPs with Article 50 just around the corner."

The letter from Britain's most influential business lobbying group comes amid demands from major inward investors in the UK for great care to be taken over the impending Brexit negotiations.

The Financial Times reported on Tuesday that a powerful Japanese business group - whose members include Hitachi and Toyota - planned to warn Mrs May that she must negotiate "with deeper consideration for the economy".