In advance of Theresa May’s speech in Florence, Alex Davies, Research Analyst at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, said:

“Almost six months into the Article 50 negotiation period, and ahead of companies setting financial budgets for next year where contingency plans may need to be accounted for, our members are increasingly worried about the lack of progress and the unforced narrowing of our Brexit options.

“The referendum result dictates third country status in relation to the EU, and the government must be honest and realistic about the implications of this. The Chamber Assembly is clear that government must prioritise the avoidance of a cliff-edge and continued frictionless trade with the EU over the ability to strike deals with other countries.

“Contrary to the words of some politicians leaving the EU can be done without leaving the single market. Government must put economic realities above political ambition and refrain from narrowing the UK’s options according to self-imposed red lines, leaving all options on the table.

“Greater Manchester Chamber therefore calls for government to accelerate progress on the matters of the divorce bill, citizens’ rights and the Irish border to allow negotiations to move on to matters of trade after the European Council meeting in October."

Find the Chamber's Brexit position statements at

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About Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce

Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce is the largest Chamber of Commerce in the UK, providing business support to approximately 4,500 members who collectively employ 446,000 people, around one-third of Greater Manchester’s workforce.

Recognised as a leader in its field, Greater Manchester Chamber’s reputation in government circles has grown locally and nationally. At the heart of the area of greatest economic intensity outside London and the South East, the Chamber is the primary body for business support, policy, representation and networking.
The Chamber is an independent, not-for-profit private company and its aim is to support businesses and help create the best climate for the region to prosper. This is achieved by ensuring that those taking decisions on key issues such as transport, taxation and business regulation hear the voice of our members. The representation of our members’ views is central to the work of the policy team at the Chamber; these views are gathered in a range of ways including our local councils, policy committees, sector councils, the main Chamber council, focus groups, meetings with politicians and consultations.

The Chamber also offers a range of networking forums across Greater Manchester, free as part of membership, plus a variety of other events and services designed to benefit specific sectors or individuals and help businesses to grow.