The head of business organisation Ibec, Danny McCoy, has said the outcome of the British election offers a fresh opportunity for the UK to shift away from what he called its "divisive hard Brexit trajectory" 

Mr McCoy said the economic risks and political challenges of Brexit are crystallising in the UK, with living standards squeezed and investments being put off or moving elsewhere in Europe. 

He said the UK government must reassess and redefine its approach to Brexit. 

Ibec has published a detailed set of potential solutions to a number of business and economic problems thrown up by Britain’s decision to leave the EU. 

The group said that if Britain leaves the Customs Union, businesses and governments will need time to prepare. 

As a result it said that customs requirements should be dealt with early in the Article 50 process, to minimise uncertainty, trade disruption and additional costs on business. 

Ibec said a cliff edge scenario - a default to World Trade Organisations rules for UK/EU trade - must be avoided. 

It said comprehensive transitional measures are needed to bridge the gap between a UK exit and the time a new UK/EU free trade agreement comes into effect.

The post-Brexit trading relationship between the EU and the UK should be as close as possible, Ibec also said.

A new Free Trade Agreement should cover services, as well as gods, and must involve minimal tariff and non-tariff barriers to goods being processed and good going to market, it added.

Today's proposals also said that specific transit arrangements will be needed to facilitate the continued use of Britain as a land-bridge to mainland Europe for Irish exports. This will require close co-ordination between customs and veterinary authorities.

The document suggested a number of financial assistance ideas for businesses affected by Brexit, such as a mechanism to alleviate the cash flow demands on companies that will have to pay VAT on imports from a the UK, and the extension of duty benefits to companies that temporarily import and export goods for processing, particularly across the border with Northern Ireland.

Ibec argued that economic relief measures should apply right across the EU, including a temporary state aid framework similar to the regime that applied during the 2009 bank crisis, to offset the worst impacts of Brexit on viable firms.

It also said the Globalisation Adjustment Fund should be adjusted to cover Brexit related job losses, adding that the EU should spend more on infrastructure that connects countries, including air and sea ports.