End the uncertainty for EU nationals in Britain, business leaders demand


Business leaders have stepped up pressure on the Government to end the uncertainty facing EU nationals working in the UK following the referendum result.

In an open letter, five business groups also called for planned infrastructure projects such as airport expansion, house building, rail and energy schemes to be given the go-ahead.

It echoes other business and union leaders' concerns about the impact of Brexit on EU nationals living in this country and calls for firm action to be taken.

The British Chambers of Commerce, CBI, Federation of Small Businesses, Institute of Directors, and EEF, the manufacturers' organisation, wrote: "Across the United Kingdom, the firms and business leaders we represent are considering the opportunities and challenges arising in the wake of the EU referendum.

"The Government needs to provide clear leadership and immediate action on two fronts.

"First, an end to the uncertainty facing EU nationals living and working in the UK. Stopping the ugly spike in abuse and violence is imperative. So, too, is a clear and unequivocal reaffirmation of the long-term residence rights of EU citizens currently working in the UK - both because it is the fair thing to do and because their skills are crucial to the success of our businesses, both now and into the future.

"Second, action to progress long-planned infrastructure projects. Last week's delay to a decision on airport expansion must not set the tone for other critical housing road, rail, energy and digital schemes, whether regional or national in scope. It is vital that these investments continue, given their outsized impact on jobs, regional growth, and prosperity.

"Addressing these key issues would be a shot in the arm for business confidence and send the right signals across the world. This may be a time for calm reflection, but it is not a time for inaction."

A Downing Street spokesman said: "As the PM has made clear, it is very important that the voice of business is heard over the coming months.

"The PM chaired a meeting of his Business Advisory Group last week to engage immediately following the referendum result and he has established new structures for Whitehall to co-ordinate business input over the period ahead."