Businesses' frustration over Brexit grows

With Brexit negotiations still hanging in the balance, UK businesses are struggling to make workable contingency plans going forward.

With the UK’s Brexit negotiations still hanging in the balance, businesses are struggling to make workable contingency plans going forward.
A call by the government for companies to "accelerate" their Brexit preparations has coincided with a warning from a business management group that firms are "at a loss" to know how to make provision for the UK's departure from European Union (EU).James Cleverly, minister without portfolio, told the House of Commons that because MPs had voted to extend the timetable for scrutinising the government's withdrawal bill, the "only responsible course of action" was to step up no-deal planning."Making sure business and the public are ready for Brexit is a priority of the government, that is why the Prime Minister negotiated a new Withdrawal Agreement with the EU which will end the uncertainty, secure the implementation period and ensure we leave with a business-friendly deal," Mr Cleverly says."As the EU has not responded to Parliament's letter (for Brexit extension beyond October 31), the only responsible course of action now is to accelerate preparations for a no-deal outcome."The government's Exit Operations Committee is now meeting seven days a week to maintain our public information campaign. Until we have certainty, the only credible thing and reasonable thing for businesses to do is to continue to prepare for a no-deal Brexit."
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Businesses are 'confused' over Brexit uncertainty

But Ann Francke, chief executive of the Chartered Management Institute, says that businesses have been stranded in a state of confusion after the withdrawal bill's timetable was extended against ministers' wishes and the "inflexibility" of the government's response.“For the first time, parliament has voted for a deal – and one that business can support. The deal provides certainty on citizens rights, guarantees a transition period and allows us to move onto negotiating the future UK/EU trade relationship. This should be welcomed,” Ms Francke says.“But the confusion caused by the bill’s timetable being voted down – and the inflexibility of the government’s response – undermines this progress. Businesses are again lost as to what Brexit preparations they should be making, creating economic uncertainty. Are we deal or no deal? Clearly, we should deal."To do so, the Prime Minister needs to take a pragmatic, cooperative approach to his work with both parliament and the European Union, to ensure the UK secures a deal. Only then can we build a future relationship with the EU that is good for jobs and the economy.”

For more news and views, visit our dedicated Brexit section. 

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