Tuesday 5 July 2016 12:01 am

Business groups call on government for clarity following Brexit vote

Businesses are calling on government to urgently address issues arising from post-referendum uncertainty in an open letter today.

The letter, which is signed by the British Chambers of Commerce, the Confederation of Business Industry, the Federation of Small Businesses, the Institute of Directors and EEF, the manufacturers' organisation, specifically asks government to clarify points surrounding the status of EU nationals living and working in the UK and how the vote has affected the progress of long-term infrastructure projects.

"Addressing these key issues would be a shot in the arm for business confidence, and send the right signals across the world," stated the letter. "This may be a time for calm reflection, but it is not a time for inaction."

In particular, the letter raised concerns that the delay on the London's airport expansion plans could spark similar hold-ups with other long-awaited infrastructure projects. 

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"It is vital that these investments continue, given their outsized impact on jobs, regional growth, and prosperity," the letter read.

With regards to EU nationals, the letter read: "Stopping the ugly spike in abuse and violence is imperative. So, too, is a clear and unequivocal reaffirmation of the long-term residence rights of EU citizens currently working in the UK – both because it is the fair thing to do, and because their skills are crucial to the success of our businesses, both now and into the future."

A Downing Street spokesperson said: "As the Prime Minister has made clear, it is very important that the voice of business is heard over the coming months. The PM chaired a meeting of his Business Advisory Group last week to engage immediately following the referendum result and he has established new structures for Whitehall to coordinate business input over the period ahead."

Read more: There’s no reason London can’t stay the number one global financial centre

Last week, it was revealed that a decision on the airport expansion project had been shelved until at least October. Speaking in parliamentary questions, transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin remarked that he had initially been hopeful that a decision could have been reached by the summer. 

The concerns voiced in today's letter regarding transport echo those of another letter signed by over 50 business leaders shortly after the referendum result was revealed. This earlier letter urged government to make a decision on the airport expansion plans as a matter of urgency.