Over 100 business leaders from UK companies and business groups have written to the prime minister, once more reiterating the damage that a no-deal Brexit would cause to the economy.
With Britain due to leave the EU at the end of this year and, despite the coronavirus pandemic, Boris Johnson confirmed that he won’t be asking for an extension to the transition period, businesses are still hugely concerned that the rigid negotiation timetable – which without a pandemic was still ambitious – could result in a cliff-edge departure from the European Union.
The letter, with signatories including Zoopla, Graphene Composites and Ebookers, said that no-deal would result in ‘more people out of work and lower living standards’, adding that firms ‘simply do not have time or capacity to prepare for big changes in trading rules by the end of the year – especially given that we are already grappling with the upheaval caused by coronavirus’.
Former Siemens UK CEO, Jurgen Maier who helped write the letter commented that: “This is not a call to reopen old divisions about remaining or leaving. The government must now deliver for us all, and on their promise to get a good deal, not a bad deal, and definitely not a no-deal.”
One issue the letter highlights is the growing trends towards localisation, especially in supply chains which may negate any opportunities to counteract lost business as a result of Brexit in territories including the US and China. It also called for alignment with EU regulatory bodies to allow the free-flowing of products in critical sectors such as medical, chemical and pharmaceuticals.
Businesses have every reason to continue fearing a potential no-deal scenario, which has already been touted as being extremely disruptive. But with the additional economic damage caused by Covid-19 where 11 of 14 key service sector indicators such as sales and cash flow show record declines, recruitment is at an all-time low and domestic sales are down for three in four firms.