Businesses up and down the country were able to update their calendars this weekend when Theresa May announced that Article 50 would be triggered by the end of March next year. In response to this news, Karen Briggs, Head of Brexit at KPMG in the UK, says business needs to examine the issues that Brexit presents and play their part in informing the negotiation process.
“Now the clock is ticking, it’s more important than ever that businesses make sure that they are doing their homework and really examining the issues that Brexit presents. There are challenges for sure but there are also opportunities.
“The Prime Minister was clear that there will need to be give and take as the UK negotiates its Brexit deal. It’s vital that businesses are really clear with government about what the ramifications of possible exit scenarios might be so that negotiators are as well informed as possible about potential consequences and can press for the best possible terms.
“But the corporate world must remember that Brexit will not be solely about business. Of course the UK’s future economic prosperity is a priority but leaving the EU is about much wider issues such as sovereignty and immigration as well.
“In a negotiation process, something inevitably has to give. Management teams need to ensure they’re developing contingency plans to cover the various Brexit scenarios that could arise and stand ready to adapt whether by changing their recruitment processes, rejigging their supply chains, altering their business models, rethinking where their operations are based or a range of other measures. Whilst ‘having and eating cake’ is very appealing, it’s important to plan for all eventualities.
“Fortunately, most business leaders have already rolled their sleeves up to get to grips with what the future might hold under Brexit. We’ve been working with large and small clients up and down the country to help them get a detailed picture of where vulnerabilities lie and where the opportunities might be, both as individual organisations and in the context of their industries trading domestically with Europe and the with the rest of the world.
“Negotiations should not and need not be a one-way street. The UK is a vital hub in European industries such as aviation, financial services, digital and technology and whether it’s through buying German cars or drinking French wine, we are a major market for many EU businesses. In today’s globalised environment, trading patterns are complicated, nuanced and interlinked and the business community has an important role in explaining these complex relationships and interdependencies.
“Government has repeatedly said it is going to make a success of Brexit and business needs to play a part in achieving that.”
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