John Longworth
Ex-British Chambers of Commerce boss John Longworth Reuters

British businesses should drop their fears over the UK leaving the EU's single-market because the economic union is overrated, according to John Longworth.

The former director-general of the British Chamber of Commerce spoke to IBTimes UK, just moments after appearing at Brexit Central's fringe event at the Conservative conference in Birmingham today (3 October, 2016).

The Leave campaigner argued that the benefits of leaving the single-market will outweigh its costs.

"We should not fear the single-market issue because the benefits of freeing ourselves of the regulatory burden and the value that will create, which is effectively a tax cut for business," he said.

Longworth claimed companies may be worried about the UK splitting from the union as part of the government's Brexit plan because is it "what we've been used to".

He added: "So breaking out of that paradigm is quite difficult for organisations, no organisation likes change - it's additional administration, it's additional costs and so on.

"The fact of the matter is, however, that the opportunities of embracing a new world outweigh the benefits of staying inside the old world. Given that we have voted to leave the EU, if we try to preserve a poorer version of what we had before, we would be worse off.

"If we embrace a new business environment, we use the freedom that we have got and the monies that we will be able to accrue from leaving, to make the UK a better place to do business."

The comments came after Longworth called for a so called "sunset clause" on all EU legislation, which would see the government putting an expiry date on laws set by Brussels in the UK.

The move would go further than Theresa May's Great Repeal Bill, which will enshrine all EU law into UK law so that MPs can scrap, amended or build on legislation from Brussels after Brexit as they fit.

As part of the process, the Conservatives also plan to scrap 1972 European Communities Act (ECA), which gives direct effect to all EU law.

The prime minister had promised to trigger Article 50, the official mechanism to split from Brussels, by March 2017. With two years worth of negotiations expected between the UK and EU, a Brexit is projected for 2019.

Longworth, meanwhile, is enjoying travelling after the EU referendum, he ruled out joining a political party and plans to seek employment again at the start of next year.