Brexit cre­ativ­ity

Wise words of Burberry’s boss

Yorkshire Post - - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR -

CHRISTO­PHER BAI­LEY, the York­shire­man be­hind the lux­ury fash­ion chain Burberry, knows at first hand about the eco­nomic un­cer­tainty be­ing cre­ated by Brexit – it’s why plans for a £50m new fac­tory in Leeds are on hold. Yet, un­like those doom­laden en­trepreneurs and politi­cians who still view Bri­tain’s looming exit from the Euro­pean Union in purely apoc­a­lyp­tic terms, how re­fresh­ing to hear such a re­spected in­di­vid­ual ac­cen­tu­at­ing the pos­i­tives – and op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Af­ter all, the tra­di­tional Burberry trench­coat is not just a sym­bol of York­shire’s tex­tile and man­u­fac­tur­ing her­itage but it is a global brand be­cause it rep­re­sents Bri­tish ex­cel­lence. And, as Mr Bai­ley said so can­didly, the de­ci­sion to leave the EU has the po­ten­tial to open the door for new in­ter­na­tional trade links around the world. “It’s a much smaller world to­day than it has ever been in terms of be­ing able to trade,” he told BBC Ra­dio 4’s To­day pro­gramme.

How­ever the sub­text of his re­marks could not have been more per­ti­nent at the end of a week that saw MPs be­gin the process of in­cor­po­rat­ing myr­iad EU rules and reg­u­la­tions into Bri­tish law. Tough new im­mi­gra­tion rules must not close the door to the most tal­ented – Bri­tain must al­ways be open to the bright­est and best – while trade talks need to start sooner rather than later so busi­nesses, like Burberry, can start mak­ing long-term in­vest­ment de­ci­sions that are fun­da­men­tal to the fu­ture of UK man­u­fac­tur­ing.

As such, the Gov­ern­ment needs to make sure that po­lit­i­cal brinkman­ship with the EU does not sti­fle the one trait which un­der­pins ev­ery suc­cess­ful econ­omy and which de­fines Mr Bai­ley – cre­ativ­ity.

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