Business managers favour trade deals and freedom of movement, says CBI study

Almost three-quarters of business managers think a Brexit deal that secures access to the single market would be the best outcome of the upcoming negotiations, a study has revealed.

The research, published by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), said just as many owners were also open to the prospect of freedom of movement.

Comparatively, just 19 per cent of the 801 managers interviewed favoured a “hard Brexit”.

The survey also looked at managers’ top five priorities for the upcoming general election.

Whether the moving vans will be called into number 10 next month or not, 66 per cent of managers want the Government to prioritise securing trade deals with non-EU countries, while 58 per cent want to maintain access to EU talent by securing the rights of existing residents.

A further 53 per cent have improved infrastructure on their wish list.

Meanwhile, just 30 per cent want to see continued investment into the Apprenticeship Levy, while 27 per cent want to promote UK higher education as an export.

Just 19 per cent called for a reduction in corporate tax to be a priority, the CMI said.

Ann Francke, CMI chief executive, said: “Political leaders looking for a strong mandate from this election must consider the views of the UK’s 3.2 million managers, who are key drivers of the UK’s productivity. Managers have serious concerns about continued access to skilled workers, and this is motivating the desire for free movement of people post-Brexit.

“All parties should focus post-election on the need to build an internationally competitive economy based on a world-class skilled workforce.”