Business chief critical of Tory squabbling over Brexit

The Conservative Party has been rebuked for internal dissension by a leading business body as the party continues its party conference in Manchester.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has called on the government to show “competence and coherence – not division and disorganisation” in the interests of the UK’s economic well‑being.

BCC director general Adam Marshall said business was very concerned by the “public disagreements within the 
cabinet” around the Brexit process and “insufficient focus” on the domestic economy.

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Marshall said: “Public disagreements between cabinet ministers in recent weeks have only served to undermine business confidence, not just on Brexit negotiations, but also on the many issues where firms need to see clear action from government closer to home.

“Action to cut the up-front cost of doing business, build key infrastructure, help firms plug increasing skills gaps, and to support investment and risk-taking must be front and centre on the government’s agenda.”

The BCC boss added that businesses had made clear on Brexit they wanted at least a three-year transition period, and “pragmatic” talks on the future trading relationship between the UK and the EU by end‑2017.

“They will judge the government’s progress on Brexit by this yardstick – not by public speeches or pronouncements – and will take investment and hiring decisions accordingly,” Marshall added.