Following the Government’s defeat on the Meaningful Vote, The British Chambers of Commerce, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) have all called for the Government to pull the stops out to avoid a No-Deal Brexit. Anna Tobin reports
“Every business will feel no deal is hurtling closer. A new plan is needed immediately. This is now a time for our politicians to make history as leaders. All MPs need to reflect on the need for compromise and to act at speed to protect the UK’s economy,” urged Carolyn Fairbairn, the CBI’s director-general.
“It is time for politicians to come together and urgently find a way forward from this alarming Brexit stalemate, and now, no-confidence vote. The UK is due to leave the EU in just ten weeks, and yet businesses still have no idea what kind of circumstances they should prepare for,” warned Mike Cherry national chairman of the FSB. “Many small businesses would be adversely impacted by a chaotic no-deal exit. It is vital that there is a transition period, to give smaller firms time to adapt to whatever the final outcome turns out to be.
“Small business confidence has plummeted to its lowest point since the wake of the financial crash. Four in ten expect performance to worsen over this quarter, two-thirds are not planning to increase capital investment, and a third see lack of the right skills as a barrier to growth. That’s what political uncertainty does to business: it makes it impossible to plan, innovate and expand.
“The UK’s talented entrepreneurs are adept at finding innovative solutions when overcoming challenges in their businesses. It’s time for politicians to show that kind of innovation, flexibility and can-do spirit to end the impasse and bring some certainty that there will be both time and support to plan for the future during a transition period.
“The Prime Minister tonight suggested that beyond tomorrow’s confidence vote she would be willing to approach members of other parties in a constructive spirit. This should involve meaningful talks, to find a genuine cross-party way forward.”
In a statement, the British Chambers of Commerce wrote: “There are no more words to describe the frustration, impatience, and growing anger amongst business after two and a half years on a high-stakes political rollercoaster ride that shows no sign of stopping. Basic questions on real-world operational issues remain unanswered, and firms now find themselves facing the unwelcome prospect of a messy and disorderly exit from the EU on March 29th.
“The overriding priority for both Government and parliament must now be to avoid the clear danger that a ‘no deal’ exit on the 29th of March would pose to businesses and communities across the UK. Every second that ticks by sees more businesses spending money on unwanted changes, activating contingency plans or battening down the hatches and halting investment, as they try to anticipate a future that is no clearer now than it was at the time of the referendum result.
“Businesses will take a dim view of more shuttle diplomacy and last-minute bargaining, which have so far done nothing to end the political impasse. The Government must now urgently set out in concrete terms what it will do to avoid the damage that a messy and disorderly exit on March 29th would cause to businesses, communities, and the UK economy.”