13 Mar 2019
Commenting on the parliamentary defeat of the meaningful vote on the Brexit agreement, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:
“Businesses have warned time and again that the United Kingdom is not ready to face the consequences of a messy and disorderly exit from the European Union. Government agencies are not ready, many businesses are not ready, and despite two and a half years passing since the referendum, there is no clear plan to support communities at the sharp end of such an abrupt change.
“Parliament must demonstrate that it will heed these repeated warnings. It is profoundly obvious that neither government nor many businesses are ready for a disorderly exit – and this must not be allowed to happen on March 29th, whether by default or by design.
“Businesses have been failed over and over again by Westminster in recent months, but allowing a messy and disorderly exit on March 29th would take political negligence to new extremes.”
Commenting on the announcement of changes to tariffs in the event of a no-deal Brexit, he adds:
“If the tariffs announced today were to come into effect, there would be winners and losers across UK industry overnight. The abruptness of changes to tariff rates in the event of a no-deal exit from the EU would be an unwelcome shock to many of the businesses affected.
“If the government were to bring these tariffs into effect on March 30, the move would also have the potential to cede negotiating leverage in future trade talks.
“While ministers have clearly listened to our arguments and maintained targeted protection in some areas, overall there has not been enough consultation, preparation or planning to support the firms and communities that could find themselves at the end of a sudden shift in tariffs. As MPs vote tonight, this is yet another reason why they must act to avoid a messy and disorderly exit from the EU on March 29.”