November has been an incredibly busy month for Brexit, with Prime Minister Theresa May determined to “see through” her flagship Brexit deal – which has attracted widespread criticism all round and provoked a series of high-profile resignations.
But what might the PM’s deal mean for businesses? And what are the chances it will actually go ahead?
Many businesses in both the UK and the European Union (EU) have spent months preparing for a chaotic or ‘no-deal’ Brexit, which a large proportion of the business community believes could be problematic for trade and produce a number of new barriers.
According to a recent survey, however, less than a third of UK firms have a ‘Brexit contingency plan’ in place that they would actually be able to action if this very real scenario takes shape.
With the likes of former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey having quit the cabinet, the prospect of a no-deal has far from been eliminated – which is why businesses need to ensure that they are prepared for all eventualities.
Nevertheless, when news of a potential deal broke, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) rejoiced, stressing that “it is vital that we avoid the cliff edge of no-deal in March 2019, as this could immediately lead to consumers facing higher prices and reduced availability of many everyday products.”
Elsewhere, top European manufacturing firms have also welcomed the news, with Siemens CEO Juergen Maier insisting that both sides need to “get behind this deal and make it work.”
The proposed deal would see a transition period implemented characterised by largely similar trade rules between the UK and EU as are currently already in place.
However, while agreements have been reached with regards to the likes of trade in financial services and broad co-operation on transport and energy, the deal has been criticised in that it still doesn’t provide much clarity as to what the future trading relationship will look like between the UK and the EU, but this could soon be clarified as well.
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