According to a new CBI survey, up to 60 percent of firms will trigger Brexit contingency plans within months if the government fails to finalize a transition deal.
The survey discovered that 60 percent of firms will have triggered contingency plans by March 2018 if there are still no transitional arrangements in place, which would involve slowing recruitment or moving staff abroad.
Prime Minister Theresa May supports a transitional arrangement after Article 50 during which the trade and regulatory relationship of Britain with the European Union would largely continue. However, delayed negotiations and political turmoil in May’s own cabinet have so far hindered the quick progress that is required to facilitate a deal.
“A prime-time soap opera”
In a talk to 1,000 business leaders in London, Paul Drechsler, the CBI president, will warn that the approach of the government to Brexit is hurting business and discouraging confidence.
“Currently, we see one major challenge – not Brexit itself: we’re 100% committed to making a success of it. But the approach to Brexit,” Drechsler will say.
“We need a single, clear strategy. A plan for what we want, and what kind of relationship we seek with the EU.”
“At the moment, I’m reminded of a prime-time soap opera, with a different episode each week. First Lancaster House, then article 50, the European Council, two dinners with Juncker – and no doubt many exciting installments to follow.
“But time is of the essence. We must leave behind the episodic approach and take this opportunity to move forward as one – business and politicians, here and abroad.”
“Brexit is only 508 days away … The clock is ticking,” Drechsler will say.
The uncertainty of whether Britain will require a period of transition following the day of the Brexit was a hot topic of debate within the Conservative Party leading up to keynote Florence speech of the prime minister.
Chancellor Philip Hammond started the case for transition. However, some of the ardent Brexiteers of the party were skeptical that a transition was simply a euphemism for staying in the European Union after March 2019.