Ed Balls: UK firms want to stay in customs union
Most British firms want the UK to remain in the customs union after Brexit, a survey has indicated.
The Harvard Kennedy School study was carried out by researchers including former shadow chancellor Ed Balls and involved interviews with more than 80 small and medium-sized firms and trade associations.
Mr Balls said: "It is the most detailed, in-depth study of the views of small and medium-sized businesses which has been done academically since the referendum."
The overwhelming majority who expressed an opinion want to stay in the customs union, the report said.
The large majority also want to stay in the single market after Brexit, believing that securing a free trade agreement (FTA) would be an inferior option to remaining a full member.
You may also want to watch:
Mr Balls said: "They say they don't know where we are going in terms of the end state or the transition.
"They are saying - in a way which surprised us - 'we want to stay in the customs union, we either want to be in the single market or an FTA which gets close to that', they are saying to us that it is having a direct impact now on business decision-making, on investment, on employment.
- 1 A lesson from the last of Mainwaring's men
- 2 Scathing report accuses Boris Johnson of 'only caring for England'
- 3 Nick Clegg says EU 'let itself and millions of Europeans' down over Covid vaccine programme
- 4 The stench of scandal seeping out from Britain
- 5 European Council president faces call to resign over 'Sofagate' incident
- 6 How the vaccines have shifted opinions over Brexit
- 7 No 10 rewrote race disparity report, expert claims
- 8 Exports to EU increase in February after record fall
- 9 Sturgeon attacks Westminster decision to refer Holyrood Bills to Supreme Court
- 10 Former chief scientist accuses Boris Johnson of privatising NHS 'by stealth'
"So the issue is, will we end up with a Brexit which is good for jobs, investment or not?
"What we are hearing here from small and medium-sized companies is they are very fearful this uncertainty and potential for a hard Brexit could cause quite big damage to the British economy."
Mr Balls told BBC Radio 4's Today programme firms feared having to comply with different British and European rules.
"Their fear is regulatory divergence will lead to a rise in regulation," he said.
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.