Our first priority in negotiations was to reach a deal on citizens’ rights, which we did in December. This gives certainty to those EU citizens living in the UK, and UK nationals living in the EU, that they can continue living their lives broadly as now.
The joint agreement reached in December confirmed a shared desire to make progress on an implementation period; and that sufficient progress had been made to progress to phase two of negotiations for exiting the EU.
Business optimism is driven by confidence in the long-term performance of the economy. Recent CBI survey’s report that UK business confidence remains positive and business investment has continued to grow in recent quarters. The Industrial Strategy, published by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy last year, sets out a long-term vision of an economy that boosts productivity and earning power throughout the UK.
Our focus now has to be on getting the right deal for the implementation period – the period immediately following the UK’s exit next March.
As you would expect, the Government is considering a range of options for the future immigration system and we will set out initial plans in the coming months. That is why we have commissioned the independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to gather evidence on patterns of EU migration and the role of migration in the wider economy, ahead of our exit from the EU.