Issue date
21 Mar 2019

CBI AND TUC CALL ON PRIME MINISTER TO CHANGE BREXIT APPROACH

Letter calls for ‘Plan B’ to be found and warns of economic shock from no-deal exit

Ahead of today’s (Thursday) European Summit TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady and CBI Director-General Carolyn Fairbairn have written a joint letter to the Prime Minister urging a change to her approach on Brexit. They have requested an urgent meeting to discuss their concerns.

The letter reads:

Together we represent millions of workers and tens of thousands of businesses. It is on their behalf that we are writing to you to ask you to change your Brexit approach.

Our country is facing a national emergency. Decisions of recent days have caused the risk of no deal to soar. Firms and communities across the UK are not ready for this outcome. The shock to our economy would be felt by generations to come.

We ask you to take three steps to protect the jobs, rights and livelihoods of ordinary working people.

First, avoiding no deal is paramount. Businesses and employees alike need to see their Government clearly acknowledge the reckless damage no deal would cause and recommit itself to avoiding this outcome.

Second, securing an extension has become essential. 88% of CBI members and a majority in Parliament agree this is better than no deal. But at the same time an extension must genuinely allow a way forwards, and be long enough for a deal to be agreed.

Third, ‘the current deal or no deal’ must not be the only choice. A Plan B must be found - one that protects workers, the economy and an open Irish border, commands a parliamentary majority, and is negotiable with the EU. A new approach is needed to secure this – whether through indicative votes or another mechanism for compromise.

We cannot overstate the gravity of this crisis for firms and working people. We request an urgent meeting with you to discuss our concerns and hear your response.

Your sincerely,

Frances O’Grady, TUC General Secretary

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director General

Editors note

- The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together more than 5.5 million working people who make up our 49 member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living.

- Across the UK, the CBI speaks on behalf of 190,000 businesses of all sizes and sectors. The CBI’s corporate members together employ nearly 7 million people, about one third of private sector-employees. With offices in the UK as well as representation in Brussels, Washington, Beijing and Delhi, the CBI communicates the British business voice around the world.