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Business groups excluded from Davis summit

By Mark Kleinman, City Editor
Britain's top business groups? will be excluded from a new round of talks scheduled to take place next week between private sector bosses and David Davis, the Brexit Secretary.
Sky News has learnt that the British Chambers of Commerce, CBI, Federation of Small Businesses and Institute of Directors have not been invited to a meeting ‎at Chevening next Friday.The exclusion of‎ the business groups has raised eyebrows among some executives, who are particularly concerned that the consequences of Brexit for smaller businesses will not feature on the agenda.Sources said that executives from companies such as Aviva, Barclays, Burberry and EY‎ had been invited to the summit with Mr Davis.
Business groups excluded from Davis summit

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All four of the major business groups, along with the EEF, which represents manufacturers, were invited to the first Chevening meeting, held in July.A person close to the Department for ‎Exiting the European Union (DExEU) said the exclusion of the CBI and its peers was deliberate."They have plenty of opportunities to engage with ministers," the person said."It's company executives themselves that we want to hear from."Next week's discussion is expected to focus on the series of position papers published by the Government in recent weeks.
Business groups excluded from Davis summit

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An invitation circulated to potential attendees said that Mr Davis wanted to discuss views on the position papers "outlining our approach to both withdrawal and to our future economic partnership with the EU".
"It will be particularly helpful to hear these views ahead of the October European Council and the next round of negotiations I will be leading," the invitation added.The subject of immigration is certain to be raised by business leaders after widespread criticism this week of leaked proposals relating to a punitive new regime.The Chevening talks reflect a desire on ministers' part to be seen as adopting a more pro-business approach following months of commentary about the muted relationship between the Government and private sector bosses before the General Election.A new business liaison group has been established by Mr Davis, Greg Clark, the Business Secretary, and Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, while the Prime Minister has also begun holding formal meetings with the heads of major employers.Sky News revealed this week‎ that Downing Street officials were asking the heads of FTSE-100 companies to sign a letter backing Mrs May's handling of the Brexit talks - a request which has bemused many of them.The letter is likely to be published in the coming days, and is reported to have secured support from Heathrow and JD Wetherspoon, among others.However, there has been growing frustration among many business leaders about the lack of material progress on possible transition arrangements for the period after March 2019, when the UK will cease to be a full member of the EU.While ministers have sought to reassure bosses that there will not be a cliff-edge in terms of trading arrangements and relationships, companies are moving to activate contingency plans in case a satisfactory agreement can be reached.A DExEU spokesman said he could not discuss the attendee list for next week's Chevening meeting.
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