Virginia, US

Today the Prime Minister, Theresa May, gave business some of the answers they have been craving since last June's EU referendum. She told us, broadly, what Brexit will mean for the UK

The big ticket item was her announcement that the UK would leave the EU single market. That wasn't what most businesses wanted to hear, but sometimes it's the not knowing that gets you. 

On immigration, she was more circumspect. One welcome statement was a repeated commitment to guaranteeing‎ the status of EU nationals already in the UK. The sticking point is Europe's unwillingness to match that commitment too.

It feels petty to criticise her here - she is right and it would be appalling if EU nationals were told to leave after Brexit‎ - but it is a shame she didn't feel able to make that commitment in the absence of bilateral agreement from Brussels. Aside from anything, the view is always better from the moral high ground, particularly in negotiations. 

Her other comments didn't tell us too much. Talk of attracting the brightest and best, ‎skills shortages and net migration could as easily have been cut and pasted from earlier speeches. 

The one interesting point was her assertion that 'we will get control of the number of people coming to the UK from the EU', a point she made twice. 

My first reaction was to assume she was talking about some sort of quota, or similar, on EU migration. Otherwise, why link control to number? Whether that is right remains to be seen. It is conceivable that a quota will be placed on some EU migrant groups, particularly ‎some subsets of workers. I've heard lots of speculation about quotas on lower skilled workers, for instance. 

It seems less likely we'd have a limit on all EU migration. For one, I doubt the political will would exist for capping student numbers and likewise, I can't see how the number of family members entering could be capped. That said, there is a cap on some non-EU workers and maybe that will be extended to catch their peers from Europe. 

Even now though, this is just speculation and over the years I've learned not to read too much into any given sentence. 

For our part, we will continue to work with the Home Office, Whitehall, opposition parties, business groups, think tanks and the foreign government‎s as things become clearer. The trick will be to make sure that messages to the government are consistent, however, the PM's intentions manifest ‎themselves. That is easier said than done, but we have the infrastructure in place to do it.