Frustration mounting, says BCC
Firms left ‘hung out to dry’ as Brexit terms still unclear
Adam Marshall: firms holding back on investment (pic: Terry Murden)
The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) says firms are being “hung out to dry” as it issues a list of 20 “critical” questions that remain unanswered for business ahead of Britain leaving the EU.
The business lobby group says many of the unanswered questions reflect fundamental aspects of how companies operate.
It says the absence of clarity and precision has already stifled investment and growth, and is resulting in unnecessary costs, inability to plan and, increasingly, loss of business as customers look elsewhere.
The BCC says business has been clear that it does not want a messy and disorderly exit from the EU on 29 March.
Adam Marshall, director general of the BCC, said: “In less than 50 days, UK firms could face the biggest change to their terms of trade in over a generation, without the information and clarity they need to navigate their forward course.
“There is a very real risk that a lack of clear, actionable information from government will leave firms, their people and their communities hung out to dry.
“Even those companies trying their hardest to get ready are still in the dark on important matters from contracts through to customs. Many others, who took the decision to wait for the political process to conclude before acting, would face sudden and costly adjustments if a deal is not reached.
“It is little wonder that many firms have been holding back on investment, stockpiling, and even opening offices and moving operations and jobs elsewhere.
“The imperative remains to avoid a messy and disorderly exit on March 29th, but businesses need answers they can base decisions on, no matter the outcome. The lack of clear, precise answers is now causing real damage to many businesses, and to the wider economy.”
Labour accuses May of ‘running down the clock’
Labour has tabled an amendment to stop Theresa May from running down the clock on the Brexit negotiations, it says.
The amendment would force the Government to come back to Parliament by the end of the month to hold a substantive vote in the Commons on its plan for Brexit.
The amendment sets a clear deadline for when MPs can have a say on what happens next in the Brexit process, either through a meaningful vote or an amendable motion.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “This amendment would stop the Government from running down the clock on the Brexit negotiations, hoping Members of Parliament can be blackmailed into supporting a botched deal.
“This is an act of gross irresponsibility. The Prime Minister is playing for time and playing with people’s jobs, our economic security and the future of our industry.
“This week Parliament should set a clear deadline for the Government to come forward with its revised deal or give MPs the chance to decide what happens next.”