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Next few weeks "prime time" to lobby government on Brexit issue, car industry told

Now is the chance for business to put its arguments to the Government and avoid the UK leaving the European Union without some sort of agreement.

That was the view of Bromwen Maddox, director of the Institute for Government think tank, talking at the recent SMMT International Automotive Summit in London.

She believes the next two to three months will be “prime time to make those arguments”.

Maddox outlined why many of the options that the UK could negotiate for are better economically than leaving without a deal, including the Single Market, a customs union, and a bespoke deal.

She added: “What’s bad for business and people is the sheer amount of uncertainty that this government has got to get through.”

FT economics editor Chris Giles warned that the fall in sterling is now being felt more widely in the economy, and there are warning signs from consumers - household spending has dropped, their savings have reached the lowest level ever, and consumer credit growth cannot continue at a double-digit rate when the economy is growing by 3-4%, he said.

Giles echoed Maddox’s view that industry must press the government to negotiate a transition to the full Brexit, so that businesses can plan for the longer term.

Director of the UK Trade Policy Observatory and Sussex University economics professor Alan Winters agreed a transition was essential.

Winters said the “brave talk” of no deal being better than a bad deal was not reality, as half of the UK’s trade is with the EU, and the automotive industry must "make its voice heard".

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