15 November 2018 – Commenting on the publication of the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Agreement on leaving the European Union, techUK CEO, Julian David, said:
“techUK believes that the Withdrawal Agreement that has been negotiated is the only solution on the table that can deliver on the outcome of the 2016 referendum whilst also securing jobs and investment in UK tech. We therefore believe that Members of Parliament should support the agreement in the ‘meaningful vote’.
“The proposed agreement would avoid the very dangerous consequences of no deal and provides a basis on which to secure a comprehensive deal on the UK’s future relationship during the implementation period. techUK particularly welcomes the clear statement of intent to secure the free flow of personal data between the UK and the EU. This issue is critical to the tech sector and to every other industry in a modern digitising economy.
“Failing to confirm Parliamentary agreement risks creating even more uncertainty for tech businesses, their staff and their customers. As a sector responsible for over a million jobs, and the fastest growing part of the UK economy, we recognise that a No Deal would directly impact the ability of tech companies to trade, move data and secure talent. It would disrupt supply chains and undermine the UK’s capability for world leading science and research. It would hit investment and lead to job losses. We believe small and medium sized businesses would be worst affected in the case of no deal.
“techUK does not believe that the Withdrawal Agreement is perfect. It will increase friction in trade with the EU and impose significant and costly changes for businesses. techUK is concerned that the implementation period is not long enough to secure the kind of comprehensive relationship required and welcomes the ability within the Withdrawal Agreement to extend that implementation period. Nevertheless, the Withdrawal Agreement offers a vastly better alternative than a chaotic No Deal exit from the EU.
“The Withdrawal Agreement is only the first step in securing the long-term outcome that tech businesses need. Should Parliament confirm the Withdrawal Agreement, the Government must focus on securing a comprehensive long-term partnership with the EU. Significant additional work is needed to provide clarity in the future relationship, specifically on securing close alignment and comprehensive market access for digital and telecoms services. This will require Government to work much more closely with businesses. A simple Free Trade Agreement would not deliver the needs of the tech industry or the UK economy.”