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UK not ready for a no deal Brexit, says CBI

Added on: 30th July, 2019 by O1

UK not ready for a no deal Brexit, says CBI

Last Updated:
Wed, 31 July 2019

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The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has warned the government that neither the UK nor the EU is ready for a no-deal Brexit on 31 October and has published practical steps it says the UK, EU and firms can take.

The CBI says 24 of 27 areas of the UK economy would experience disruption if there was a no-deal Brexit, saying: "While the UK's preparations to date are welcome, the unprecedented nature of Brexit means some aspects cannot be mitigated."

The 200 recommendations for the UK, the EU, and business owners to help accelerate preparations for no-deal, are contained in its report 'What Comes Next? The Business Analysis Of No Deal Preparations'. The report is based on thousands of interviews with firms of all sizes and sectors, including 50 trade associations, covering all areas of the UK economy.

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CBI Director General, Carolyn Fairbairn

The group says although businesses have already spent billions on contingency planning for a no-deal exit from Europe, they remain hampered by unclear advice, timelines, cost and complexity.

"Larger companies, particularly those in regulated areas such as financial services, have well-thought-through contingency plans in place, though smaller firms are less well prepared."

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New Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made Michael Gove responsible for planning a no-deal Brexit who has said the UK government is currently "working on the assumption" of a no-deal Brexit.

He said his team still aimed to come to an agreement with Brussels but, writing in the Sunday Times, he added: "No deal is now a very real prospect."

Speaking to the BBC's Today programme, Josh Hardie, the CBI's deputy director general, said: "A deal is absolutely essential if we're to manage the economy in the best way that we can."

"If you see a storm coming, you put down the sandbags," he said. "It doesn't mean you're going to stop all the flood water, you'll probably still lose the kitchen but you might save the bedroom and that's where we are right now."

The UK had been due to leave the EU on 29 March, but former Prime Minister Theresa May asked for an extension and the date was pushed back to 31 October.

A UK government spokesperson said: "This is a constructive contribution from the CBI, acknowledging the importance of all businesses preparing for no deal on the 31 October.

"The chancellor has confirmed all necessary funding will be made available for vital no deal preparations. This includes funding for a major nationwide communications campaign to ensure that people and businesses are ready."

The Telegraph's chief political correspondent, Christopher Hope, reported on Sunday that Boris Johnson is to unveil biggest ad campaign since Second World War to prepare for 'no deal', with up to 100 million spent on advertising alone in the next three months, according to government sources.

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