Suffolk and Essex business leaders call for more certainty on anniversary of Brexit vote

Graham Abbey speaking at the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce June Networking Lunch and AGM held at The H

Graham Abbey speaking at the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce June Networking Lunch and AGM held at The Hangar, Kesgrave Hall. - Credit: Archant

A year on from the shock Brexit referendum result, Suffolk and Essex businesses are still bracing themselves for the fall-out from the UK electorate’s momentous decision, chamber chiefs say.

David Burch Director of Policy at Essex Chambers of Commerce & Industry

David Burch Director of Policy at Essex Chambers of Commerce & Industry - Credit: Archant

Both Suffolk and Essex chambers are watching closely to see how the Brexit talks progress, and gauging reaction in their ranks in order to lobby government to ensure the best outcome for their members.

Graham Abbey, president of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, said his organisation had been continuously monitoring members’ views on the Brexit process since the June 23 vote a year ago.

“Since then, Suffolk businesses have shown their mettle by carrying on and doing what they do well: delivering world-beating products and services,” he said.

But with Brexit talks now under way, the chamber and its members were expecting the government to offer certainty on key issues such as trade, customs and immigration “sooner rather than later”, so that firms here can properly plan their employment and investment decisions, he said.


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“It is vital that the government uses the expertise and knowledge of chambers of commerce to land the best deals possible both as regards the EU and other markets.

“We also expect the government not to ignore vital non-Brexit issues. We are alarmed that the Queen’s Speech contained little about the need for massive infrastructure spending and significant improvements to the country’s skills and aptitude base.

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“We will be pushing Suffolk’s MPs hard to engage their help in ensuring that the next two years are well used in ensuring this county’s and the country’s economic prosperity is not frittered away.

“Businesses have no time for petty political rhetoric at the best of times; now is the time for the adults in this process to step forward.”

David Burch, director of policy at Essex Chambers of Commerce, said from the initial reaction of complete surprise at the result, a year on members were stilll concerned for the future and what the final deal will mean to them. “Obviously for those businesses exporting to the EU that was mixed with concern for the future and in some cases genuine anger about the result,” he said. They wanted to see tariff free goods trade between the UK and the EU, and clarity on the immigration policy, he said.

“Businesses will be closely watching proceedings in Parliament in the coming months and years with some trepidation for the future,” he said.

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