Businesses ‘may need Ireland move’
Firms could relocate as a result of referendum result
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