The government must secure a Brexit transition deal by the end of the first quarter of 2018 before businesses implement “no deal”contingency plans, according to the head of the Institute of Directors (IoD).
Speaking at the lobby group's annual dinner tonight, IoD director general Stephen Martin is expected to say businesses are “concerned about what happens if a breakthrough isn’t made at the next round of talks in December.”
He will say: “It’s as simple as this – we are now only 16 months away from leaving the EU. We need the discussion to move on to our future trading relationship and, critically, what happens when the Article 50 timeline runs out in early 2019.”
But he will praise IoD members for their “determination” in preparing for every Brexit eventuality, saying that businesses have upheld their end of the bargain and now need politicians to “deliver” for them.
He will go on to say: “We support the Government’s intention to agree a transitional period after March 2019, to provide time for both companies and the public sector to adjust to new arrangements on customs, regulations and much else.
“We need to know this implementation phase will, in effect, keep the terms of cross-border trade unchanged, so that business can get back to making crucial investment decisions that are facing a chill at the moment."