Busi­nesses ‘may need Ire­land move’

Firms could re­lo­cate as a re­sult of ref­er­en­dum re­sult

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Robert Cum­ber robert.cum­ber@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

WEST London busi­nesses are con­sid­er­ing mov­ing to Ire­land in the wake of the EU ref­er­en­dum re­sult to leave the Euro­pean Union, it has been claimed.

Stephen Fry, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Houn­slow Cham­ber of Com­merce, said he knew of at least two busi­nesses in the bor­ough that were ‘se­ri­ously look­ing’ at re­lo­cat­ing across the Ir­ish Sea to re­main within the Euro­pean Union.

Mr Fry said he did not be­lieve they would move, but un­der­stood why they were weigh­ing up their op­tions given the un­cer­tain­ties sur­round­ing Brexit. He told the Gazette he was more con­cerned about west London los­ing its smaller creative busi­nesses, many of which rely on univer­sity or EU fund­ing and could eas­ily re­lo­cate to Ire­land or main­land Europe.

“It’s not D Day, but some medium-sized and large busi­nesses in west London are get­ting them­selves in a po­si­tion where they have op­tions, and Ire­land is an at­trac­tive op­tion,” he said.

“The smaller busi­nesses are in a state of panic be­cause they don’t know what this means and there’s been no lead­er­ship from the govern­ment.

“Our ad­vice to all those busi­nesses is to sit tight be­cause noth­ing will change for the next two years.”

Mr Fry added that the govern­ment could end all the un­cer­tainty in west London this week by giv­ing the go-ahead for a third run­way at Heathrow, al­though there has been spec­u­la­tion the ref­er­en­dum re­sult re­duces the like­li­hood of the air­port be­ing ex­panded.

A sur­vey by Houn­slow Cham­ber of Com­merce ear­lier this year sug­gested busi­nesses in the bor­ough were marginally in favour of re­main­ing in the EU.

Mr Fry’s com­ments came as busi­nesses in west London moved to re­as­sure staff.

G lax oSmi th K line, which is based in Brent­ford, said: “Al­though the EU ref­er­en­dum re­sult cre­ates un­cer­tainty and po­ten­tially com­plex­ity for us in the fu­ture, we do not cur­rently an­tic­i­pate a ma­te­rial ad­verse im­pact on the busi­ness, group’s re­sults or fi­nan­cial po­si­tion.”

A spokesper­son for the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal giant added that it would con­tinue to op­er­ate as usual and work closely with all rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers.

The Chiswick-based brewer Fuller’s said: “We be­lieve that the de­ci­sion to leave the EU is likely to have some neg­a­tive im­pact on our busi­ness – but we are built for the long term.

“Fuller’s has been around for over 170 years, sur­viv­ing two World Wars, nu­mer­ous changes of govern­ment and prime min­is­ter and sev­eral eco­nomic down­turns.

“With this ex­pe­ri­ence and a solid busi­ness model, we are well­po­si­tioned to ride out the tur­bu­lence re­sult­ing from this de­ci­sion.”

The firm added that it was not look­ing at mov­ing its oper­a­tions and did not ex­pect the ref­er­en­dum out­come to lead to any re­dun­dan­cies.

London mayor Sadiq Khan said the capital needed more pow­ers to help pre­vent a post-Brexit eco­nomic slump.

An­drew Dak­ers, chief ex­ec­u­tive of West London Busi­ness, said west London re­mained ‘one of the best places in the world to do busi­ness’.

“West London is ex­cep­tion­ally well con­nected by air, road and rail,” he added.

“We have a highly skilled work­force that is the most pro­duc­tive in London.

“We are also home to some of the UK’s lead­ing en­trepreneurs and Higher Ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tu­tions.

“In the weeks ahead we will work with the lo­cal busi­ness com­mu­nity and our West London Al­liance part­ner lo­cal au­thor­i­ties to en­sure that the spe­cific busi­ness im­pli­ca­tions aris­ing from Brexit, and any sup­port needed, is fully un­der­stood to en­sure long-term eco­nomic growth is sus­tained.”

West London Men­tal Health Trust, which em­ploys more than 3,500 staff across Ham­mer­smith and Ful­ham, Eal­ing, and Houn­slow bor­oughs, also sought to as­suage work­ers’ fears.

Carolyn Re­gan, the trust’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, said: “It is clear that fol­low­ing the re­sult of the EU ref­er­en­dum, many of our staff mem­bers may have con­cerns about the fu­ture.

WLMHT chief ex­ec­u­tive Carolyn Re­gan as­sured EU staff they were “more than wel­come”

“As your em­ployer we will do ev­ery­thing we can to sup­port you at this time. You are all highly val­ued mem­bers of staff.

“We would like to ex­press our pro­found grat­i­tude to our staff from the EU, and take this op­por­tu­nity to let you know how much we ad­mire and ap­pre­ci­ate how hard you work to care for our pa­tients.

“Please be re­as­sured that you are all more than wel­come here.”

n BUSI­NESS HEADS: (From left) Stephen Fry, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Houn­slow Cham­ber of Com­merce, West London Men­tal Health Trust chief ex­ec­u­tive Carolyn Re­gan and An­drew Dak­ers, chief ex­ec­u­tive of West London Busi­ness

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