Hear our voice as Brexit talks are hit by chaos
This time last week, our region’s top directors gathered in York to celebrate our annual Director of the Year Awards. Our compere for the evening Danni Hewson joked about the “B- word”, referring to Brexit and Boris.
Little did we know the chaos that would unfold over the next few days following the Cabinet’s away- day at Chequers and subsequent high- profile resignations.
Our Director General Stephen Martin, who was our special guest in Yorkshire for the awards ceremony, initially welcomed the Chequers statement, stating “our members have wanted Cabinet to come together and put the interest of the country first.”
That illusion of a united front did not even last the weekend.
Whichever way you may have read the Chequers ‘ agreement’, one thing that did come through loud and clear is that our IoD members have been listened to.
Firms across the UK will have seen the statement as a positive step forward. The proposals touched on many of the complex issues regarding customs, regulations, and the Northern Ireland border, while also highlighting the importance of the UK being able to develop an independent trade policy.
Now, it feels like there is more work to be done than ever before to heal the rifts in our Cabinet and reach agreement with the European Union. Time is ticking.
Businesses urgently need clarity on the future trading relationship, so they can understand the path that lies ahead and plan effectively.
Amid this chaos and lack of strong leadership, there has never been a more important moment for business leaders to make their voice heard. And not just about Brexit.
Our regular Policy Voice surveys, which take the temperature of our membership and inform how the IoD lobbies Whitehall, have identified several areas of concern.
While a lack of progress in Brexit negotiations can impact on economic optimism, conditions across the board have become shakier in the first half of the year, as evidenced by the challenges faced by our High Street retailers. This week, Poundworld announced the closure of 25 stores and Mothercare said it will shut 60 stores by June 2019, rather than the 50 it previously earmarked for closure. In the latter case, that’s 100 more jobs at risk.
Some of the UK’s biggest brands are suffering from rising costs and sluggish demand. I believe they need support and leadership from a strong government ( for example on business rates) to help alleviate these pressures. It is up to you, our business leaders, to ensure that what businesses need is embraced.
We need you to be part of a strong voice for business. Please consider joining the 3,000 other members on our Policy Voice panel.
The survey results have a real impact when we show them to Ministers, and the more members who take part, the stronger our voice will be.
STORES TO GO:
Mothercare is latest victim of High Street slowdown.