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Leaving the EU

Volume 618: debated on Tuesday 13 December 2016

9. What discussions his Department has had with business representatives on the Government’s plans for the UK to leave the EU. (907825)

We have held a wide range of discussions with businesses, their representatives, investors, workers and local leaders in all four home nations. We expect that to continue in the coming months to secure UK interests in any exit negotiations.

There is concern among business about a potential cliff edge in March 2019 if we leave the EU and fall back on World Trade Organisation rules and tariffs. Does the Minister agree with the Chancellor, who yesterday told the Treasury Committee that there is

“an emerging view among businesses…that having a longer period to manage the adjustment between where we are now as full members of the European Union and where we get to in the future as a result of the negotiations…would be generally helpful, would”

help smooth the transition and would help to reduce disruption for business?

It is a tempting invitation to offer a running commentary on our exit arrangements, but since we are not going to do that as a Government, I will not do so now.

Last week’s news from Port Talbot was hugely welcomed in steel towns such as Corby. It came about because of constructive work not only in the House, but involving Ministers, the unions, the workforce and the industry. As we move towards reaching final agreement, what role does my hon. Friend see the industry playing in the industrial strategy, and what discussions has he had on that in the EU context?

I stand corrected. We will leave the Foreign Secretary out of this.

The Minister for Climate Change and Industry, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and other ministerial colleagues have had a series of meetings with steel companies across the production and supply chains, and have been able to give them the support and structure needed in that context.