Business leaders urge UK government to avoid no-deal Brexit | Politics

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Business leaders have pressured the government to agree to a last-minute Brexit trade deal after an investigation showed more than three-quarters supported a deal with Brussels.The CBI warned ministers that only 4% of business leaders according to a survey of 648 said they supported a no-deal Brexit, while 77% said they wanted a deal.

Companies said the pace of decline in parts of the industry has accelerated, but half of those polled said the treatment of Covid-19 had a negative impact on Brexit preparations.

The study showed that private sector activity fell in the September quarter, but at a slower pace, adding to concerns from UK Chambers of Commerce and Make UK, which represents manufacturers, that the recovery has stagnated in much of the economy.

Carolyn Fairbairn, Managing Director of the CBI, said: “Next week Brexit talks enter the 11th hour. Now is the time for political leadership and the spirit of compromise to shine on both sides. Agreement can and must be reached.

“Businesses face an unprecedented treble of challenges – rebuilding themselves from the first wave of Covid-19, dealing with the resurgence of the virus and preparing for significant changes in UK trade relations with the ‘EU.

“Much of it will provide the strongest foundation possible as countries recover from the pandemic. This would keep UK businesses competitive by minimizing red tape and additional costs, freeing up much needed time and resources to weather the difficult times ahead.

The decline in private sector activity is expected to continue over the next three months, but at a slower pace, the CBI said.

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