De­mand for clar­ity on Brexit

Wales On Sunday - - NEWS -

CAB­I­NET in­fight­ing over Brexit must end or it will cause eco­nomic dam­age that will hit the poor­est hard­est, a prom­i­nent busi­ness leader has warned.

In a strongly worded mes­sage to Theresa May’s top team, Con­fed­er­a­tion of Bri­tish In­dus­try (CBI) pres­i­dent Paul Drech­sler said he was frus­trated by a lack of unity which could de­rail progress on se­cur­ing a deal when the UK leaves the Euro­pean Union in March 2019.

There would be “eco­nomic con­se­quences” as a re­sult of the “un­cer­tainty and mess­ing around”, he said.

Re­search by the busi­ness group found 60% of firms would be­gin im­ple­ment­ing con­tin­gency plans for a “no deal” Brexit by the end of March 2018 un­less progress has been made on guar­an­tee­ing tran­si­tional ar­range­ments will be in place on the day the UK leaves the bloc.

Some 10% of the 306 mem­ber firms sur­veyed by the CBI had al­ready started tak­ing those steps, with a fur­ther 50% reach­ing that point over the next few months.

“By the end of March, 60% of peo­ple will have taken de­ci­sions that buy them a ticket to some­where else,” Mr Drech­sler said.

Some would choose to move over­seas or hire more staff in EU coun­tries but other firms could in­crease in­vest­ment in the UK be­cause of fears that sup­plies from the bloc would face bar­ri­ers.

While big busi­nesses could hedge their bets and adapt to chang­ing con­di­tions, small firms were strug­gling when “ev­ery week there’s an­other episode that cre­ates some more ex­cite­ment and may­hem” in the Brexit “soap opera”.

Mr Drech­sler told the Press As­so­ci­a­tion: “I think now is the time we need our Cab­i­net, our Gov­ern­ment united – day in, day out, week in, week out, month in, month out un­til this is sorted out.

“There is no more space for con­fu­sion, for vari­a­tion, for al­ter­na­tive points of view. We need clar­ity on tran­si­tion ASAP.”

In a stark mes­sage about the im­pact of po­lit­i­cal di­vi­sions, he said: “I am sad­dened by the fact that there are go­ing to be eco­nomic con­se­quences of this un­cer­tainty and mess­ing about.

“And the peo­ple who will be af­fected most by this – be in no doubt – are the poor­est peo­ple in our so­ci­ety and the small­est firms. “That’s what I’m up­set about.” ■ ‘Cardiff and Ed­in­burgh must be in on Brexit talks’ – page 8

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.