The fleet industry has welcomed further details of the Government’s Brexit strategy, which includes pulling out of the EU single market.
In a landmark speech yesterday, the Prime Minister Theresa May outlined her vision for the future of the UK and warned the EU not to try to "punish" the UK, saying she would walk away unless the right deal was offered.
Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), said: “The recognition by the Prime Minister of the importance of single market arrangements for the automotive sector is critical.
“We need Government to deliver a deal which includes participation in the customs union to help safeguard EU trade, trade that is tariff-free and avoids the non-tariff and regulatory barriers that would jeopardise investment, growth and consumer choice. Achieving this will not be easy and we must, at all costs, avoid a cliff-edge and reversion to WTO tariffs, which would threaten the viability of the industry.”
The Freight Transport Association (FTA) welcomed her commitment to “tariff-free and frictionless trade” with the EU and to ambitious free trade agreements with other partners globally.
The UK road transport industry is also highly reliant on EU nationals who work as drivers, warehouse operatives and in other key roles across the sector. The continued ability of FTA members to employ and recruit these key workers will be essential to their future business success and FTA will be seeking assurances that the Government recognises and accommodates the essential needs of the logistics sector.
The PM confirmed that Article 50 will be triggered in March 2017 and will be followed by the negotiations between the UK and EU. The UK will leave the EU in March 2019. The final deal will be voted on by both Houses of Parliament.
Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), said: “It is positive to see that the Government has revealed further details regarding its Brexit strategy which will allow businesses to start planning their future.
“During this transition period it is vital that the UK economy remains stable and businesses are given certainty.”
Robinson continued: “The NFDA will continue to work with the Government to ensure the retail motor sector is recognised as a key segment of the UK economy and its interests are safeguarded.”