May commits to Brexit transition period, Corbyn to 'common ground'

Oliver Haill WebFG News | 06 Nov, 2017 14:52 | | |


Theresa May indicated to British businesses that the government is intent on arranging a post-Brexit transition period in order to avoid a “cliff edge” split from the European Union in 2019, while opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn stressed Labour had more "common ground" with business than was thought.

Speaking at the CBI conference in London, the Prime Minister said it remained her aim that businesses should benefit from a “strictly time-limited implementation period” during which each side could continue to have access to each other's markets on current terms.

"I want us to agree the detailed arrangements for this period as early as possible," she said, acknowledging the important for business and industry to have the time to plan and prepare for the new arrangements.

"But we should also be able to develop our relationships with countries outside the EU in new ways, including through our own trade negotiations around the world," she added, in reference to the UK's desire to progress to the next stage of exit talks.

After hitting a deadlock in Brexit talks due to an apparent lack of progress in agreeing a 'divorce bill' payment, the EU has refused to move talks onto the subject of trade - although in a concussion the bloc has agreed to begin internal talks onto this subject.

In her speech, May also laid out more her vision of free market economies the "proper role of government", as both the Conservative and Labour party leaders were given the opportunity to address the great and good of UK business on Monday.

Alluding to the approach used between government and the financial services sector, May talked about a "strategic state" that invests public funds in education, commits to long term goals, and "supports business, people and places, a strategic state has a major influence on the economy".

"In exerting that influence, governments must inevitably make choices, and in a democracy, be held to account for them. The choice which this government makes is to deploy this influence in a thought-through way, taking decisions for the long term. Because while the power and potential of the market is immense, I also strongly believe in the good that government can do."

Jeremy Corbyn used his speech to stress the “common ground” that the Labour party shared with business.

"We need a Brexit that puts jobs and living standards first and it is Labour that has common ground with you on putting the needs of the economy front and centre stage.

"We have common ground on the need for transitional arrangements to be agreed immediately so that businesses know they won’t face a cliff-edge Brexit when the two year negotiating period is up. Because let me be clear: to delay a transition deal until a final deal is agreed as the Prime Minister says she wants to do, is simply not good enough."

Other common ground the Labour leader cited included the wish to avoid the threat of “no deal” Brexit, "common ground on investment, training and industrial strategy and a government that embraces its responsibilities and carries them out for the common good".

Conservative MP Anna Soubry, a former business minister, tweeted that "allowing us to be painted the party of hard Brexit" was allowing Labour to be "apparently more pre British than the Tories".

More news

00:20 US close: Wall Street mixed ahead of Thanksgiving holiday

Wall Street finished mixed on Wednesday, following the record highs set the day before and amid lighter-than-usual trading volumes ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday.

22 Nov Jefferies upgrades Kingfisher to 'buy', raises target price

Analysts at Jefferies upgraded home improvement products retailer Kingfisher (KGF) to 'buy' from its previous 'hold' rating on Wednesday, raising its target price from 310p to 400p along the way.

22 Nov Europe close: German stocks give back gains amid political impasse

Stocks ended the session modestly lower as traders waited for the release of the minutes of the US Federal Reserve's last rate-setting meeting in the evening and monitored the news-flow out of Germany, amid speculation that a 'grand coalition' between Germany's two main political parties, the centre-right CDU/CSU and the Socialist SPD, may yet be possible.

22 Nov Lebanon prime minister Hariri retracts resignation

Saad al-Hariri has revoked his resignation as Lebanon's prime minister, according to a local news report on Wednesday.

22 Nov Budget: Planning probe spooks builders, mixed reaction for stamp duty cut

A range of new housing policies were proposed by Chancellor Philip Hammond in his Budget statement, including more funds for smaller housebuilder, a probe into potential holding of land by major housebuilders and a stamp duty cut for first-time buyers.

22 Nov US open: Shares hold ground ahead of FOMC minutes

Wall Street is holding its ground following the record highs set the day before, albeit amid lighter than usual trading volumes ahead of the Thanksgiving Holiday on Thursday, with investors looking to the release of the minutes of the most recent meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee.

22 Nov London close: Stocks higher on UK budget

Shares closed higher on Wednesday as investors sifted through corporate releases as well as the Autumn Budget.

22 Nov FTSE 250 movers: Qinetiq boosted by Berenberg note as Thomas Cook tanks

The FTSE 250 index was up around 0.50% on the day in which Chancellor Philip Hammond revealed his budget for the upcoming year.

22 Nov Higher margins offset declining sales volumes at Cambria

Motor dealer Cambria Automobiles managed to successfully grow profit and revenue throughout the financial year, as per-unit profits counteracted a slide in sales volumes.

22 Nov First production at Texas asset transforms Pantheon Resources into full-cycle energy and power business

Oil and gas exploration firm Pantheon Resources announced "another year of progress" in its full-year results on Wednesday, as it completed the transition from a pure-play exploration company to a full-cycle energy and power business.