British business says no to no-deal in 100 days’ time

The UK’s five leading business groups, representing hundreds of thousands of businesses across the United Kingdom employing millions of people, today unite and call on politicians to prevent a disorderly ‘no-deal’ Brexit on 29th March. By CBI news

Posted by Jian Ping Sun on Wednesday, 19th December 2018

“Businesses have been watching in horror as politicians have focused on factional disputes rather than practical steps that business needs to move forward. The lack of progress in Westminster means that the risk of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit is rising. Businesses of all sizes are reaching the point of no return, with many now putting in place contingency plans that are a significant drain of time and money. Firms are pausing or diverting investment that should be boosting productivity, innovation, jobs and pay, into stockpiling goods or materials, diverting cross border trade and moving offices, factories and therefore jobs and tax revenues out of the UK. While many companies are actively preparing for a ‘no deal’ scenario, there are also hundreds of thousands who have yet to start – and cannot be expected to be ready in such a short space of time.

“All this activity stems from the growing risk of leaving the EU on 29th March without a deal. With just 100 days to go, the suggestion that ‘no-deal’ can be ‘managed’ is not a credible proposition. Businesses would face massive new customs costs and tariffs. Disruption at ports could destroy carefully built supply chains. From broadcasters, to insurance brokers, to our financial services - the UK’s world-leading services sector will be needlessly disadvantaged, and many professional qualifications will be unrecognised across the EU. UK and EU nationals working abroad will be left in deep uncertainty about their future. As a result of the lack of progress, the Government is understandably now in a place where it must step up no-deal planning, but it is clear there is simply not enough time to prevent severe dislocation and disruption in just 100 days.

This is not where we should be. Expressed from UK five leaders of business groups

Dr Adam Marshall, Director General, British Chambers of Commerce said,“Businesses will recognise the huge efforts made by the Prime Minister and across government to reach this milestone. “After two and half years of uncertainty, this may be end of the beginning — but not yet the beginning of the end. Our firms need clarity and precision on the specific terms of trade they will face in future, many of which are still to be agreed. The avoidance of sudden or multiple changes to trading conditions is crucial to business investment and confidence.

Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General, Confederation of British Industry told to Times Publications," Brexit has inevitably dominated the agenda. As I write, the outcome of the negotiations and Parliamentary process remain highly uncertain. Throughout the year, the CBI has pushed for economic pragmatism over political ideology. We have ensured the business voice has been heard at every level in the UK and across Europe. Our Smooth Operations report, covering the regulatory needs of 18 sectors from the new EU/UK trade relationship, played a vital role in providing negotiators on both sides of the Channel with the evidence they needed to shape the workable new deal. It was the CBI who first called for a ‘status quo’ transition to support jobs and avoid a cliff-edge, a policy position later adopted by the UK government and the EU.

Stephen Phipson CBE, Chief Executive, EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, Mike Cherry OBE, National Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses, and Stephen Martin, Director General, Institute of Directors also joined statement signatories yesterday.

“The responsibility to find a way forward now rests directly with 650 MPs in Parliament. Nobody wants to prolong the uncertainty, but everyone must remember that businesses and communities need time to adapt to future changes. As the UK’s leading business groups, we are asking MPs from all parties to return to their constituencies over Christmas and talk to their local business communities. We hope that they will listen and remember that when they return to Parliament, the future course of our economy will be in their hands.”

Editor: James Norris

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