Both the business and recruitment industry have been reacting to the recent Brexit negotiations following Theresa May’s October speech to the House of Commons regarding the meeting of the European Council.
We still have no clear agreements in place regarding the terms of Brexit but at least now we have a date for the formal exit, 11pm UK time on Friday March 29th 2019, with a possible three years of transition period to smooth the way for post-Brexit relations.
There has been some minor agreements, but unpicking 43 years of treaties and agreements that cover thousands of subjects was never going to be straightforward. No decisive progress has been made on the main issues and the main sticking point appears to be money and the size of the bill the UK will pay to cover its outstanding obligations to the EU when it leaves. 20 Billion Euros has been offered with Council President Donald Tusk hinting that it would be prepared to discuss trade deals further if more was offered.
Some commentators had so far described the negotiations as chilly but the recent talks though not making any clear decisions have paved the way for how Britain and the EU can move forward onto the next step of the negotiation ladder.
"Decisions and certainty are now needed to protect jobs and investment on both sides”.By CBI Director-General Carolyn Fairbairn
The business community reacted to these fresh talks with the CBI Director-General Carolyn Fairbairn commenting:
“Today’s warm words are welcome, and it’s clear that the Prime Minister’s Florence speech has unlocked progress. But for firms across Europe, warm words are not enough. Decisions and certainty are now needed to protect jobs and investment on both sides”. *
“While all effort and goodwill must go into securing the new partnership, firms across the EU have no choice but to prepare for all outcomes, including ‘no deal’. Larger firms are already well advanced in their plans and the CBI will now support its small and medium sized members to do the same. Inevitably, as these plans are implemented there is a cost to communities, from Berlin to Brighton.”*
She urged a transition agreement to be completed by Christmas 2017 so that the shape of the final deal can be discussed in early 2018.
"Clarity around trade, residency and immigration could prevent a rapid decline in the UK’s successful labour market".By Kevin Green CEO of the REC
And, despite the uncertainty, the UK economy has continued to grow at the same rate as 2016 and unemployment has continued to fall. However, the REC continues to voice their concerns understandably regarding the UK labour market with Chief Executive Kevin Green stating that:
“Although the demand for temporary workers is declining, the demand for permanent staff remains strong - which is a positive sign. The jobs market’s unprecedented growth is at tipping point. Clarity around trade, residency and immigration could prevent a rapid decline in the UK’s successful labour market. We’re looking for political leadership”. **
The UK currently has skills shortages in the Health & Social Care, Engineering and Catering sectors and the overall consensus is UK business will be better prepared to plan and meet these challenges once a clear position on immigration and trade is established.
Watch this space!
Sources - https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/oct/20/brexit-talks-has-the-balance-of-power-shifted-and-what-happens-next