Brexit round-up: May told to begin exit process

Here is a round-up of the top Brexit-related stories this week.

Tusk asks Theresa May to start Brexit process

European council president Donald Tusk has told Theresa May to start the Brexit process ‘as soon as possible’. 

Following the G20 summit this week Tusk expressed that the other 27 members of the EU were waiting to see when the UK will formally trigger article 50.

Mrs May responded that she wants a “smooth” Brexit process and added that the government will "not reveal its hand", amid pressure to set out plans to begin the EU departure.

Small businesses confidence remains high 

Small businesses remain confident about their economic prospects following the Brexit vote in June. 

Around 4,500 SMEs surveyed by BDRC show little signs in drop dropping confidence following the result while 13% rated the economic climate as a major barrier to their business. 10% rated political uncertainty as a major barrier.

Shiona Davies, director at BDRC, said:

“For now, most SMEs are reporting 'business as usual', albeit there are signs of concern amongst some specific groups.”

Services sector returns to growth

The country’s service sector returned to growth in August, according to research by IHS Markit and CIPS. 

Following disruptions from the referendum result, the business activity index rebounded to 52.9 in August, up from 47.4 in July.  

Business activity also rose thanks to firms attracting new clients, higher export, and domestic tourism and returning confidence on the back of the weakened pound.

David Noble, group chief executive officer at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply, said:

“Whether this steadiness continues will largely depend on the sector’s reaction to the UK government’s approach to the Brexit negotiations as the sector keeps one eye on business as usual and one eye on possible obstacles ahead.”

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