As we enter 2019 the questions remain: “What do you think?” “So, what’s going to happen?”
Early in 2018 and with the Brexit trade talks about to start we said that the climate for businesses had never been more challenging. The Brexit talks have ended. But the business climate is now even more challenging.
The first few weeks of this year are going to be very challenging for the Prime Minister and Parliament. MPs are due to vote on the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal in 7 days. Most commentators are of the view that the deal will be voted down. If it is, and if the Prime Minister resigns office, the available options would be a hard Brexit, an extension of Article 50 or a withdrawal of Article 50. A poll funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) found that 57% of Conservative Party members think that leaving the European Union with no withdrawal agreement would be preferable to the Prime Minister’s proposals. 23% of those quizzed in the survey would vote for her deal in a referendum offering a choice between the deal, no deal and staying in the EU. If there was a two-option referendum only 29% of Tory members would vote for the deal as opposed to 63% who would vote to leave without a deal. The findings were released on Friday 4 January by the ESRC-funded Party Members Project (PMP).
But will her deal be voted down? Will the UK leave without a deal? There has been talk of a second referendum and of a snap election. Will there be another referendum? Will there be an election in 2019? Who knows? We must wait and see.
2019 is going to be an enormously challenging and transformational year for businesses! In these uncertain times businesses are worried about the future and are considering the steps they must take. As we enter an era of change an awareness of the economic realities and a proper understanding of the legal changes is essential.
Whatever happens, deal or no deal, Brexit will also bring opportunities for SMEs.
The Government has started its no-deal Brexit planning by allocating funds to preparations and by seconding over 60 civil servants to “front line departments.” Businesses are advised to start preparing.
Pure Business Law kicked off its strategy planning for SMEs in 2018 with its presentation of its Brexit event “Business Survival in the Post-Brexit Era: The Challenges and Opportunities for SMEs” on 24 April 2018 with presentations by Miriam Gonzales (International Trade and EU Law expert and Founder of Inspiring Girls, former partner in Dechert LLP), Professor Richard Wilding (Professor of Logistics and Supply Chain Strategy, Chartered Engineer) of Cranfield University, Ms Anneli Howard (EU law and WTO/ International trade expert) of Monckton Chambers, Mr Justin Richardson (Chief Executive) of the Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce, Mr Kelvin Kilmartin (Commercial Director of Luton Airport Rail Transit JV Project) of VolkerWessels/Kier Construction Group and Chartered Surveyor and Ms Alex Falcone Huerta of Soaring Falcon Accountancy. (www.purebusinesslaw.com)
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