London businesses have growing concerns over barriers to future trade, one year on from the EU referendum.
Firms in the capital also want “immediate clarification” on issues such as migration, a report by the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has found. The report, Moving Towards Brexit, was based on a ComRes survey of 500 businesses.
The LCCI said it had found general agreement with the broad aims expressed from Westminster: the pursuit of the “freest and most frictionless trade possible”.
It found that 70 per cent of London firms believe minimising customs procedures on trade with the EU is important, while 68 per cent thought minimising import and export licensing requirements was important. Some 66 per cent also wanted a way to minimise restrictions on the quantity of goods that can be traded with the bloc.
The survey also found that 74 per cent think international students graduating from UK universities should be allowed to stay in the UK for a period of time.
And the report recommended the government should: commit to progressing infrastructure projects including Crossrail Two; avoid a funding “cliff-edge” for businesses that benefit from EU funding; prioritise access to the EU single aviation market; provide businesses with “clear timelines” so they can prepare for the Brexit process; and encourage and support a “grandfathering” approach towards existing free trade agreements to ensure businesses can continue to trade on preferential terms.
“If customs procedures between the UK and EU end-up being reintroduced, innovative or technological solutions must be considered to prevent queues and costly delays at the points of entry,” LCCI chief executive Colin Stanbridge said.
“The UK government, as well as EU counterparts, will need to invest adequately in the infrastructure required to enable that.
“There is broad agreement among the capital’s businesses that Brexit should not distract from addressing London’s pressing policy agenda, notably with regards to progressing infrastructure projects like Crossrail Two”.