Ann Francke: Brexit must now be treated as an opportunity to forge global business partnerships

27 March 2017 -


But CMI’s chief executive says government must consult with business leaders to secure the best deal for Britain

Matt Scott

Prime Minister Theresa May formally started the process of Britain leaving the EU this week with the triggering of Article 50.

This landmark step set the wheels in motion for a complex negotiation process that will determine the terms for Britain leaving the EU, as well as our relationship with the bloc once Brexit has formally completed.

CMI chief executive Ann Francke said this negotiation process will be a tough one, but that government must use it as an opportunity to get the best deal, globally, for British business.

“The negotiations will be hugely complex and the Government must invite business leaders to the negotiating table to help secure the fairest possible new trading relationship for British business," she said.

“EU withdrawal brings with it the chance to open up the country’s collective mindset to global business opportunities. We will fail if a culture of isolationism is allowed to grow. Multinational diversity has been fundamental to British business success and businesses need reassurance that EU nationals living and working in the UK will continue to have their rights guaranteed. In important areas like hospitality, construction and technology, businesses will struggle to survive and certainly to improve productivity without continued access to overseas talent pools.”

Francke added that the process of leaving the EU should be used to strengthen the Government’s policies on gender pay and diversity, and as a way to bolster the country’s position in the global economy, and urged political leaders to consult with all stakeholders to get the best deal for Britain.

“The triggering of Article 50 signals the start of a process that will leave Britain forging a new path, outside the relative protection of the EU,” she said. “The Government’s skills agenda and progressive gender pay policy are strong policies that will help the country boost productivity through an investment in people. We have to make sure that our workforce remains diverse, and is equipped with the progressive and practical skills needed to keep British business competitive.

“Good managers should consult their stakeholders. And that includes the Cabinet. This is a complex, important constitutional decision that fundamentally affects Britain’s future, and we must entrust our democratically elected MPs to agree that the new deal negotiated is the right one for Britain.”

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