The 27 EU leaders meeting in Brussels have agreed to give the green light to internal preparations for the second phase of Brexit talks with London, as British Prime Minister Theresa May heads home to better data news.
A tentative green light. EU leaders agree to make internal preparations for the second phase of Brexit talks with London. European Council President Donald Tusk confirming the news on the second day of a summit in Brussels But leaders still want a clearer commitment that Britain will settle its financial obligations. And that's where things continue to stall. May failed to break the deadlock during a dinner on Thursday night. Although she remained upbeat as she left the conference. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER, THERESA MAY, SAYING: "What I've made clear to my EU counterparts in relation to financial contribution is what I set out in my Florence speech, which is that I have said that nobody need be concerned for the current budget plan, that they would have to either pay in more or receive less as a result of the UK leaving, and that we will honour the commitments that we have made during our membership." Leaders are now expected to target December for London to improve its settlement offer. With many in the UK keen for things to progress. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISER, CEBR, VICKY PRYCE, SAYING: "Businesses are screaming now. I mean the interesting thing is when you read anything in the newspapers these days whether it's the right wing press or centre right of centre left press, what do you have got nice horror stories of what a no deal might mean and there's a lot of focus on that." May returns home to good news. Britain posted its smallest budget deficit for any September in the past 10 years September's figures marked the third straight month in which the public finances performed better than expected That after a week of disappointing data including a 3 per cent inflation rate And retail sales in September showing their weakest growth in four years.