This stage of Brexit may feel like déjà vu all over again. Deadlines slipping. Crunch talks continuing. So far, so familiar? Yet the situation facing companies is stark.
Businesses’ resilience has been stripped bare by coronavirus. Despite huge efforts, firms are telling me they’ve gone as far as they can to prepare. With just 45 days left, many business-critical issues remain unresolved.
Political and economic timetables cannot continue to compete, they must now converge. The priority must be agreeing a deal at the earliest opportunity, not reviewing options for the latest possible date. Assessing just a few of the outstanding issues highlights the reason for urgency.
As the National Audit Office recently said, “significant risk” remains in relation to the arrangements required to implement the Northern Ireland protocol. Last week’s warning from UK supermarkets must be noted. With just weeks left, they still don’t know whether they will be able to legally export meat, fish or dairy produc