THERESA May placed great emphasis on what she called her “ambitious and practical” economic aims for a Brexit deal yesterday, putting the concerns of business at the heart of her agenda.
She was surely correct to do so, and the business community has broadly welcomed the Prime Minister’s recognition that its welfare should be a priority. Yet a note of caution needs to be sounded about what she had to say.
Her focus was firmly upon big business and the City of London, which begs the question of what her Brexit blueprint holds for the many independent firms in Yorkshire.
Our region needs reassurance that the Government has the welfare of such businesses at the forefront of its mind. We have a thriving independent business sector, encompassing everything from market-town boutiques and award-winning restaurants and gastropubs to an emerging cohort of innovative online enterprises.
They are creating wealth and jobs, and doing much to make Yorkshire one of the most creative and entrepreneurial regions in Britain. It is the Government’s duty to ensure that Brexit results in a business environment that enables these companies to build on their success. These businesses must not be forgotten about in the Government’s keenness to shield financial services and the City from any Brexit buffeting.
Mrs May needs to acknowledge their immense contribution to the economy not only of our region, but to the country as a whole, and set out proposals that reassure them that they are valued just as much as big business.