Chancellor’s Brexit negotiation priorities welcomed by CBI

Chancellor Philip Hammond has pledged to prioritise industry and “free-flow trade” throughout Brexit negotiations – and his comments have been welcomed by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

Speaking at an event organised by the CBI in recent days, the Chancellor told business chiefs that he would seek out a “transition that prioritises protection of the free-flow of trade across our borders” ahead of securing a final deal.

Mr Hammond said that he was open to a “grown-up debate” on the level of funding of public services.

The Chancellor also voiced his stance on immigration.

He said that he would aim for a transitional arrangement that would “allow British businesses and public services to continue to recruit the labour they need to deliver both economic growth and our social objectives.”

The comments, which come at a time of political uncertainty and turbulence, were welcomed by business leaders attending the event.

Commenting, CBI deputy director-general Josh Hardie, said: “Companies will want to see transitional arrangements that prioritise protection of the free-flow of trade across borders agreed as soon as possible.

“A new migration system allowing firms to access the skills and labour they need to succeed globally is of the utmost importance as the UK seeks to renew its trading relationships around the world, and the chancellor’s commitment to this will be warmly received.”