UK businesses call for continued access to single market

The UK?s Business Secretary Sajid Javid has said that securing continued access to the European single market will be his ?number one priority? in the negotiations over the country?s exit from the European Union.

In a speech after meeting with the chairs of UK?s largest business organisations, and CEOs and senior representatives from major employers, Javid stressed that the UK is currently still a member of the European Union and the single market. He added that the Government was ?100% committed to making the UK the best place in Europe to start and grow a business?.

The biggest issue raised by business leaders at the meeting was the need to secure continued access to the single market, Javid said.

EEF, the manufacturers? organisation, was among those seeking assurances over access to the single market and protecting the UK?s trading relationships.

Terry Scuoler, chief executive of EEF, said that it would be best to wait until the UK has a ?clear and defined negotiating position? before triggering Article 50, which would start the process of withdrawing from the European Union. And he stressed the need to ensure the migration of workers into the UK is not impaired.

This morning, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) announced record turnover for the UK automotive industry in 2015 and said that the industry is one of the world?s most competitive thanks to access to the single market and EU-negotiated international trade deals, as well as the ability to recruit talent internationally and influence new standards.

?Our growth depends on certainty and continued open and reciprocal access to the 100-plus markets with which the UK automotive industry so successfully trades,? said Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive. ?This is not just finished cars but components, technologies and the wider automotive value chain. Any risks and uncertainty to these fundamental benefits need to be addressed head on by UK government.?

Electrical and telecommunications retailer Dixons Carphone is also among those calling for a strong single market deal for the UK.

Sebastian James, group chief executive of Dixons Carphone, told the BBC that ?we need to do everything in our power to make sure our leaders get us access to the single market?.

Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general of the CBI, has set out three ?urgent priorities? for business following the referendum result.

?The UK has a long history of being an open and collaborative trading nation and that must continue,? she said.

?The Government must communicate and demonstrate that the UK is open for business and investment, including by keeping critical infrastructure projects and spending decisions on track.

?We must give urgent long-term reassurance to the thousands of EU migrants already working in the UK that they can stay here.

?A visible commitment to openness must be at the heart of our new relationship with the EU. In practice this means tariff and barrier free access to the single market; maintaining trade deals around the world; attracting and keeping skills; and working out the trade-offs between these three.?