Business West remains very engaged with the ongoing pyscho drama that is Brexit.
The fight between UK political personalities is clearly taking a lot of media attention, but for many companies, it is now becoming crunch time before they decide how to adapt and make crucial investment decisions prior to March 2019.
We have been working very closely with a large group of our businesses – particularly small and medium export businesses – about what type of trading relationships they will have after Brexit.
This has included hosting a round table with officials with HMRC and the Department for Exiting the European Union to inform government policy on customs barriers, working with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to look at the impact of changing paperwork requirements on our member company export models and working with some of our largest sectors on making the case for a Brexit that works for them.
This includes pressing the case for clarity for our aerospace sector with our regional leaders and Metro Mayor, whilst we also went on a joint trip to Brussels with Honda last week, to meet EU decision makers and business groups to talk about a transition period that works for business on both sides of the channel.
However, the overwhelming issue remains the uncertainty that is emanating from the UK government itself – where the cabinet appears unable to decide what it wants from either the transition or end destination of Brexit. This political uncertainty is making it much harder for businesses to plan, and ultimately increases the risk of a ‘no deal’ scenario.
For this reason, we are now spending a considerable amount of time arranging meetings between our exporting members and their MPs, to make sure our MPs are as informed as possible about the business impact of Brexit.
We have had MPs tell us that they are simply not getting local businesses contacting them about Brexit impact – so if you haven’t been in touch with your MP about this, you should.