UK's Hammond calls for smooth Brexit to avoid cliff edge

Xavier Trudeau
Juin 20, 2017

Speaking on Peston on Sunday Hammond gave his view on the Conservative's recent election campaign.

Mr Hammond's warnings over Brexit were seized on by critics, with shadow chancellor John McDonnell claiming the Government is in "disarray".

"We have looked, obviously, at those recommendations and what has happened to them".

"We're leaving the EU and because we are leaving the EU, we will be leaving the single market and by the way, we will be leaving the customs union".

"I think people are tired of the long slog", he told BBC One's Andrew Marr Show.

Chancellor Philip Hammond said during a television interview on Sunday that "my role in the election campaign was not the one I would have liked it to be".

"More borrowing, which seems to be Jeremy Corbyn's answer, is not the solution".

"Any sudden cliff edge preventing small firms from accessing the workers they need or disrupting trade with the European Union single market would be hugely damaging for small firms and the wider economy".

Asked how long Mrs May had left in Number 10, Mr Hammond replied: "I think what the country needs now is a period of calm while we get on with the job at hand".

"To do this in the context of our wider objectives will be challenging", the Chancellor said.

"I understand that people are tired after years of hard work to rebuild the economy after the great crash of 2008-09, but we have to live within our means".

"Overall, we are a government that believes in low taxes and we want to reduce the burden of taxes overall for working families".

Mr Hammond also ruled out the possibility of a summer budget and said "there will be a regular budget in November" in which the government will "set out our future plans for public spending, for taxation, for fiscal balance and everything else that needs to be clear".

Ahead of the historic Brexit negotiations, Davis said yesterday: "While there is a long road ahead, our destination is clear - a deep and special partnership between the United Kingdom and the EU".

The chancellor undermined the British prime minister's mantra that "no deal is better than a bad deal" on the eve of Britain's Brexit talks, after he suggested that "no deal would be a very, very bad outcome for Britain".

Businesses have warned of damaging tariffs being imposed on their products unless new trade arrangements are agreed.

Mr Hammond said Brexit meant the United Kingdom would definitely be leaving the single market, but must avoid "cliff edges".

"It's a statement of common sense that if we are going to radically change the way we work together, we need to get there via a slope, not a cliff edge", he said.

British Prime Minister Theresa May, criticized shortly after the blaze for failing to meet with victims, says the public inquiry looking into the tragedy will report directly to her.

Hammond also said he wanted Britain to lead a "crusade" for the opening up of services markets around the world as it leaves the European Union and he said the country wanted to remain open to skilled workers.

He has now re-emerged as big business' leading proponent in the government, a role he reinforced on Tuesday by emphasising the need for "mutually beneficial transitional arrangements to avoid unnecessary disruption and unsafe cliff edges".

"She's got no mandate here and she's got no authority overseas and the negotiation starts tomorrow".

"Third, these arrangements must be permanent and reliable for the businesses regulated under these regimes", Hammond said.

Yes, as he said at the weekend, the United Kingdom will be leaving the customs union.

The speech, first due to be delivered on Thursday, reflected different priorities to those put forward by Theresa May before the general election.

Five business groups yesterday wrote to business secretary Greg Clark, urging him to "put the economy first" in negotiations.

Squaring that circle might be the political challenge of our generation.

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