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There is now just under 6 months until the United Kingdom will divorce from the European Union. Depending on your viewpoint, Brexit will bring either good fortune or misfortune for industry. Alternatively, with the continuing lack of clarity coming from our political leaders, you may be unsure of just what to expect from the disarray and are still deciphering "Brexit means Brexit". One thing that is for certain is that after 11pm on 29th March 2019, the UK will have left the EU and have to face the music. That is unless an extension is agreed, which, considering the current complex state of affairs, would hardly be a surprise.
Rather than debate the pros and cons of Brexit, the following is a brief overview of recent Brexit developments and available resources that could help your company's Brexit strategy.
There is no denying that Brexit has been and will continue to be a disruptive force for every industry. An Uninterruptible Power Supplies Ltd survey of senior IT and data centre professionals has shown that 35% of respondents feel that the current political uncertainty is the biggest threat to their business over the next 12 months (https://bit.ly/2xupFIX). With no clear indication of the type of deal that the UK will reach with the EU, or whether the sides will even come to an agreement at all, it is evident that companies will need to be prepared for a range of outcomes. An SSG Insight study shows that 83% of manufacturers are now preparing for a hard Brexit by forging business relationships with countries outside of the EU (https://bit.ly/2PN4VTb). This is a reflection of the government’s own approach, with Theresa May recently visiting South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria to reinforce economic and trade ties with the growing African economies.
An interesting aspect which the study also highlights is that 18% say that a divergence in standards and legislation is a major concern post-Brexit. These findings were backed up by a recent EURIS report where it was stated that 83% of industrial product manufacturers support continued regulatory alignment with the EU in order to remain competitive (https://bit.ly/2NRCRRq). Respondents overwhelmingly said they see no benefit in moving away from the EU regulatory system for industrial and manufactured products.
With industrial companies seemingly having greater clarity on what they want from Brexit than the UK Government, it is no wonder that many businesses are evoking traditional British stoicism by keeping calm and carrying on with business as usual – patiently awaiting further clarity before making any significant business decisions.
In terms of Brexit resources, EEF has launched a dedicated Brexit hotline to help companies understand the implications of the technical notices released earlier this year that explain what to expect from a 'no-deal' outcome. You can contact the EEF Brexit hotline on 0808 168 5874. A further resource that is worth keeping an eye on is the government’s Innovate UK website that highlights a variety of funding opportunities made available through the Industrial Strategy (https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/innovate-uk). Finally, it is worth regularly visiting the PBSI website for the latest Brexit developments that affect the industry.
If you have any feedback, comments, or wish to see us cover any particular topics, please get in touch. Enjoy the issue!
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