UK Must Secure Brexit Transition Deal or Risk Losing Jobs: Business Leaders

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Sky News said it had seen the letter and that the five groups - completed by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), manufacturing group EEF and the Federation of Small Businesses - were increasingly anxious the United Kingdom would leave the European Union without a deal of any kind. The report also points to increasing concern over labour shortages.

In a joint letter that is expected to be delivered to Davis this week, the groups, which include the Confederation of British Industry and the manufacturing body EEF, called for a two-year Brexit transition agreement to be struck that closely resembles the current United Kingdom relationship with the EU. Last week Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein spelled out the bank's post-Brexit plans for Europe in a Tweet. There is still no agreement on transition arrangements after March 2019, when the United Kingdom leaves the union, and discussions on a long-term trade deal have not yet begun.

"The UK and European Union simply must agree a new trade deal, reducing the current state of uncertainty UK business finds itself in".

One source described the letter as an attempt to strike a realistic balance between the competing agendas within the Cabinet.

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The joint intervention is a sign of the mounting anxiety among United Kingdom businesses about the lack of progress in Brexit negotiations, nearly seven months after the prime minister, Theresa May, triggered article 50.

And they urged Mr Davis to ensure that disruption to employers was minimised as far as possible.

The letter added: "It is vital that companies only have to undertake one adjustment as a result of the UK's withdrawal, not two - and that businesses, the UK Government and authorities in the European Union have enough time to make the changes needed to deliver Brexit successfully".

The lobby groups called on the government to publicly state its position on an implementation phase, sending "EU negotiators a strong positive signal of the government's readiness to discuss this economically crucial issue".

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Business leaders have long pressed the government to negotiate a transition period after Brexit in order to avoid a "cliff edge" for companies.

"We are making real and tangible progress in a number of vital areas in negotiations".

Phase two of the talks will then focus on agreeing the "framework" of the future trading relationship between the United Kingdom and the EU.

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