June 18 (UPI) -- Five major business organizations in Britain have united in asking the government to "put the economy first" in negotiations to depart from the European Union by continuing access to a single European market before the final Brexit deal.
The statement Sunday was authored British Chambers of Commerce, Confederation of British Industry, EEF, Federation of Small Businesses and Institute of Directors.
Formal Brexit negotiations between Britain and the European Union begin Monday. That follows preliminary talks last week between EU negotiator Michel Barnier and David Davis, Britain's secretary of state for exiting the European Union, in Brussels that ended Thursday.
"We have come together to urge the government to put the economy first as it prepares to start formal negotiations on the UK's departure from the European Union," the letter said. "This is a deal that when finally agreed will matter fundamentally for the U.K. economy, for U.K. companies and for citizens of the U.K. A deal that supports growth will allow companies to hire more people, raise living standards and improve lives across the country."
The letter added if businesses' concerns are handled, the government "will be in a strong position to protect and strengthen the U.K.'s economy during this vital period and beyond."
This includes "a flexible system for the movement of labor and skills between the United Kingdom and the European Union, that enjoys public support," the letter reads.
The organizations want a continued single market until a final settlement between Britain and the European Union is agreed and implemented
In the final agreement, the businesses want tariff-free goods trade between Britain and the European Union as well as "minimal customs formalities at the land, sea and air borders" between them.
Last June, British voters opted to leave the 28-nation bloc in a referendum. Unless Britain and all remaining EU member states agree to extend the deadline, Britain will leave the EU on March 29, 2019.