Responding to the Prime Minister's offer of guarantees for EU citizens living and working in the UK, made at last night's European Council meeting, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said:
"Concerned business communities across the UK will welcome the Prime Minister's proposal to guarantee the rights of EU citizens, but with a tinge of regret and frustration. This offer could have been made loudly and clearly nearly a year ago in the immediate aftermath of the referendum, which would have spared individuals, communities and employers significant angst and worry. Signals matter, and the UK government's lack of clarity until now has meant that many UK firms have lost valued members of staff, with others saying that key employees are thinking about leaving.
"The UK and EU must strive for an ironclad, reciprocal guarantee on citizens’ rights as soon as possible in the Brexit negotiations. Individuals and businesses – both here and on the Continent – cannot be left in limbo until the conclusion of the final Brexit agreement."