CBI warns of cliff edge for £240bn data economy

Catherine Neilan
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EU Referendum - The White Cliffs Of Dover
"The last deal took four years to agree. We don't have four years" (Source: Getty)

The government must agree a transitional deal with the EU or face the UK's £240bn data economy "falling off a cliff edge", the CBI will say today.

In a keynote speech at the National Cyber Security Conference, CBI's deputy director general Josh Hardie will press for an "adequacy decision" for the long-term, allowing British businesses to prove they meet EU standards.

“But unless the Brexit negotiations find another way, getting such a deal would mean first becoming a ‘third country’," he will say. "In other words, we’d need to leave the EU before that process could even begin.

“The last major data deal between the EU and a third country was with New Zealand and that took four years. We don’t have four years. We can’t afford to wait for that deal to be made because businesses are facing decisions today.”

“We currently have clear data laws based on a clear agreement with the EU. But with no deal on Brexit, that certainty disappears.

“Without a firm legal basis for data processing, we risk leaving business leaders scratching their heads, facing fines on one hand and extra costs to comply on the other. Trying hard to plan beyond Brexit but not knowing what to expect."

He will add: “Without this vital bridge, firms risk being left with no legal certainty when transferring and processing data. We can’t let that happen. Because the people this will impact the hardest are the people running small and medium-sized firms, who are already finding the transition tough.

“This isn’t just an academic argument. It really will affect jobs, growth and prosperity across the UK. But if we can get the right transition deal in place, we can protect our data-driven businesses and the £240bn they bring to our economy.

“Business stands ready to do what it can to make that happen. Now we’re calling on the UK government to do the same.”

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