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May to meet executives as fears over no-deal Brexit grow

October 31, 2018 at 3:30pm

Prime Minister Theresa May will meet about 120 business leaders and major investors on Wednesday as concerns mount about the chance that Britain will leave the world’s biggest trading bloc without a deal.

May and finance minister Philip Hammond are due to meet executives to discuss Brexit and this week’s annual budget, which included spending pledges and higher taxes on technology firms. They will both make statements and then take questions.

The government has so far not said where the meeting is taking place or who will be attending.

With five months to secure a deal before Britain is due to leave the European Union, business leaders are demanding certainty over the kind of trade terms the divorce will deliver. In particular, they want reassurances that there will be a 21-month transition period after Britain is due to leave the bloc.

If Britain and the European Union fail to strike a withdrawal agreement, there will be no formal transition period to cushion the impact of Brexit.

The Brexit negotiations are currently stalled over a disagreement on a fallback plan to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland, former focal point for sectarian tensions, if a future trading relationship is not in place in time.

The latest meeting with business leaders follows a conference call the prime minister held with a similar-sized group of business leaders earlier this month.

Earlier this week in the budget, the government announced an end to Britain’s long spending squeeze with tax cuts for households and a new tax on the revenues of multinational technology companies.

(Reuters)