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Business groups respond to publication of Brexit White Paper

06 Feb 2017

Business groups have responded to the government’s recent publication of its Brexit White Paper, which outlines its ambition to create a ‘new, positive and constructive’ partnership between the UK and the EU.

The White Paper sets out the government’s 12 principles as announced by Prime Minister Theresa May in her Brexit speech last month, in which she pledged to ‘take control of our own laws’ and to ‘trade and do business all around the globe’.

Trade, devolution, immigration and protecting workers’ rights are amongst the 12 principles outlined in the White Paper, and these represent some of the areas up for negotiation with the EU.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) gave a broadly positive response to the publication of the paper. Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director General, stated: ‘We welcome the additional detail that has been given in this White Paper addressing some of our concerns.

‘It is vital that the business voice continues to be heard loud and clear in the UK and across Europe to make a success of Brexit and ensure our future prosperity.’

However, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) gave a decidedly less enthusiastic response. Frances O’Grady, its General Secretary, noted: ‘The White Paper tells us little we did not already know, and still leaves working people exposed to risks to their rights and jobs.

‘The government has set out its aspirations for trade agreements once we’ve left the EU. But there’s little explanation of how jobs and living standards will be kept safe while those deals are negotiated.’

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