Plan­ning to thrive

The Sunday Telegraph - - Letters To The Editor -

There are many who believe that if Theresa May fails to win the Com­mons vote on her With­drawal Agree­ment, she will just keep putting it back to MPs un­til they give in. Let’s hope this does not turn out to be so. She should ac­cept the re­sult and move on – and ex­pend her en­ergy on tak­ing no-deal prepa­ra­tions to a new level.

Right now the Gov­ern­ment is just into the first stage: plan­ning for sur­vival. These are the essen­tial lo­gis­ti­cal con­cerns, such as en­sur­ing ad­e­quate sup­ply of food and medicine even if the EU were to seek de­lib­er­ately to cur­tail trade. Bri­tain has achieved far more on this front in re­cent weeks than many of us feared, and the EU has also started to put in place plans to min­imise no-deal dis­rup­tion. Much more needs to be done for the first stage, but the Gov­ern­ment should also quickly look ahead to the next: plan­ning to man­age. There are a great many things that busi­nesses need to be in­formed of. For in­stance, what tar­iffs will they have to pay to ex­port or im­port to the EU? Will we de­clare uni­lat­eral free trade? Will the Gov­ern­ment com­pen­sate – in a way that is com­pat­i­ble with World Trade Or­gan­i­sa­tion mem­ber­ship – farm­ers or other groups? The Gov­ern­ment des­per­ately needs to de­tail its fu­ture trade, fis­cal and reg­u­la­tory poli­cies.

The fi­nal stage is plan­ning to thrive. With­out a deal, we would be able to sign new trade deals from day one and the Gov­ern­ment would have to ac­cel­er­ate its plans on this front mas­sively. We should al­ready be talk­ing to Aus­tralia, Amer­ica, Ja­pan and ev­ery­one else. If the Gov­ern­ment ex­plains con­fi­dently how it is deal­ing with the three stages of sur­vive, man­age and thrive, it would not only re­duce the air of panic but also give Mrs May real strength at the ne­go­ti­at­ing ta­ble.

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