Brexit latest: Theresa May sets out her vision for businesses

Ian Mean
Director of Business West Gloucestershire | Business West
2nd March 2018

Businesses hoping for any glimmer of clarity on how the Brexit negotiations might well affect them got very little to convince them from the Prime Minister’s big set piece speech today.

Granted her hour long epistle was extremely detailed but was quite boring and drawn out.

For the first time, the prime minister set out her vision for Brexit in a lot of detail but at the very end, she probably hit the nail firmly on the head as to just what business were thinking when she said:

“We know what we want. Let’s get on with it”.

Hear, hear say our member companies.

That is exactly what they want the government to do in giving them some sort of clarity on Brexit so they can make realistic plans after we exit the EU.

In questions after the Mansion House speech, she did mention that the encouragement of business to export was a government priority, and of course, the Business West export team will welcome that.

But there were hardly any discernible messages for businesses earnestly looking for some meat on what they generally regard as a very bare Brexit bone so far since the EU talks started.

However, I did notice that Mrs May made several mentions of the importance of “integrated supply chains”.

This is particularly welcome for the car industry, especially companies like Honda at Swindon, which like many of the car manufacturers in the UK, has a major reliance on round the clock delivery of parts and comp-onents from Europe.

Mrs May set out five tests for a successful Brexit agreement, and they were all pretty logical. She made it very clear that there was no way she would agree to a hard border in Ireland but there was no feel of a solution to this highly political problem,

While the EU might get the feel of more cherries on the cake from Mrs May after today’s speech, I do not feel personally there is enough here to make them more enthusiastic that any sort of agreement with us is in sight at all. 

And for business, the wait for more clarity continues. Certainly, business in this region would say they could not run their companies like this with such a lack of detail.

But this, after all, is politics with high stakes.


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