Lack of Brexit clarity continues to plague businesses as Airbus, BMW and other companies from the metro regions issue a stark warning to government.
Warning bells from businesses large and small are ringing ever louder this week as major firms make clear their position on exactly what impact a ‘no deal’ scenario would have on business operations.
Airbus, which employs 14,000 across 25 sites in the UK, last week led the march issuing a stark warning that it could leave if the UK exits the single market and customs union with no transition deal. BMW, who makes the Mini and Rolls Royce and employs about 8,000 people added to the warning saying clarity is needed by the end of the summer.
"Patience among businesses, particularly exporters, is now wearing very thin."
Echoing the frustration from businesses from across the regions, Colin Stanbridge, CEO of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry last Friday told the Prime Minister that a 90-week transition period is too short, as coupled with a lack of clarity from government, it does not provide sufficient time for businesses to prepare for trading outside the EU. He said: “It is notable, that from soundings with other metro area chambers there appears to be a common business view that a longer transition period is necessary.”
The three chambers have been voicing the concerns of business through the Terms of Trade campaign – revealing frustration over the lack of clarity plaguing businesses, as well as the risk of increasing costs, added friction to trading arrangements and uncertainty of the effect a new migration system would have on the labour market.
Matt Griffith, Director of Policy at Business West explained: “It is now two years since the referendum and less than ten months until Brexit day. We still do not have any idea as to what businesses have to prepare for, nor a settled agreement within government as to what end state the UK itself wants to see in our trading relationship with Europe.
He added “Patience among businesses, particularly exporters, is now wearing very thin. Politicians seem uninterested in the detail of how Brexit will impact local businesses, or how its negative impacts will make it harder for businesses to create the wealth upon which the health of our region depends. This is not just ‘big business’ but is impacting many small local firms.”
Without clarity, businesses have no choice but to plan for the worst-case scenario.