Theresa May will this week launch a new advisory group designed to respond to concerns of the business community and trade bodies as Brexit negotiations gather pace.

Her office said that the Prime Minister will chair the first in a regular series of the new council in Downing Street on Thursday, at which terms of Brexit and the Government’s wider industrial strategy would be discussed with representatives of some of Britain's biggest firms.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, Business Secretary Greg Clark, and Brexit minister Robin Walker will join the meeting, as will Ralf Speth, chief executive officer of Jaguar Land Rover, Tesco’s Dave Lewis and Prudential’s Paul Manduca.

Stephen Martin from the Institute of Directors, Carolyn Fairbairn, from the Confederation of British Industry, and Mike Cherry from the Federation of Small Businesses will also be in attendance.

Many of the biggest trade bodies in the UK have expressed deep concerns around Brexit and what it might mean for tariffs, trade and the free movement of people. And many have also criticised the Government's lack of transparency on some of the most pressing issues for companies of all sizes.

Scores of firms, especially in the financial sector, have already committed to moving staff or shifting their European headquarters to the continent to ensure that they can provide a seamless service to clients in the aftermath of the split.

Earlier this year, CBI president Paul Drechsler said that Britain would face a “Pandora’s box of economic consequences” if it crashed out of the EU without a new trade deal in place.

Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, earlier this month called for “day-one certainty and stability on the rules and regulations they will face when the UK leaves the EU”.

"Continuity and equivalence are needed to prevent any disruption to British business, particularly in terms of our trade with partners and markets in Europe and beyond,” he said.

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), the professional body for the recruitment industry, in a report on Wednesday said that the Government’s failure to outline a post-Brexit immigration policy was adding to uncertainty for both business and EU workers in the UK.

A survey of 607 employers conducted by the REC found evidence that a growing number are taking on temporary workers to plug gaps caused by skill shortages. Some 87 per cent intend to maintain or increase their use of temporary staff in the next three months.

Other senior business figures due to join Thursday’s meeting include chairman of BAE Systems, Roger Carr, BCC president Francis Martin and John Pettigrew, the chief executive officer of National Grid.  

Independent