Responding to the decision by the European Council to extend Article 50 until 31 October, Julian David, CEO, techUK, said:
“The extension agreed by the European Council means that digital businesses no longer have to brace for an imminent No Deal Brexit. However, for tech firms who have already had to spend millions of pounds and thousands of working hours preparing for Brexit, an October extension is not long enough to reduce the need for No Deal stockpiling or increase investor confidence.
“Businesses are also very aware that the clock is already ticking on the 31st December 2020 and the end of the transition period contained in the Withdrawal Agreement. Trying to deliver the second phase of negotiations on our future partnership with the EU in just 13 months is simply not credible. Tech businesses are particularly aware of the challenges on issues such as the free flow of data, where the fastest ever agreement with another country took 18 months. It is therefore now very clear that the transition period will have to be extended if and when we reach the next phase of negotiations.
“The best way to lift uncertainty continues to be Parliament finding a suitable solution to the Brexit impasse. Leaders from all parties should continue to seek an agreement that supports our entire economy, including our world leading digital services. All options, including a confirmatory referendum, should be on the table. Anything other than finding a way through the current mess will simply ensure that both politicians and business leaders are unable to refocus on the issues that truly matter to supporting the rapidly growing firms of the future.”
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