A new CBI survey reveals 63% of businesses say they require greater certainty in the EU negotiations before December to stop them implement damaging contingency plans. For 19% of businesses the deadline had already passed.
Citing a lack of clear information and the number of possible Brexit scenarios, the majority of firms are planning for a worst case, ‘no deal’ scenario which would have the most extreme implications for jobs and investment.
These contingency plans include adjusting supply chains outside the UK by opening facilities and warehousing in the EU, stockpiling goods, relocating UK production and services overseas and moving or cutting jobs.
50% of businesses have investigated the opportunities for business growth that may arise out of Brexit. Of those, 20% have found some opportunities that may arise out of Brexit.
However, the survey also found that 87% of businesses say Brexit has had a negative impact on their investment decisions, up from 36% in October 2017. 66% of businesses also said Brexit has had an impact on the attractiveness of the UK as a place to invest.
Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said:
“If negotiators are unable to inject some long overdue certainty into the negotiations by securing the Withdrawal Agreement and protecting the transition period before December, a trickle of no deal contingency plans risks becoming a flood.
“These contingency plans are already draining investment away from the UK, risking a generation of lost investment that should be going towards protecting jobs, improving wages and increasing the UK’s competitiveness.
As long as no deal remains on the table, the more corrosive the impact of these plans will be, eating away at people’s lives and living standards.
“Businesses have been patient, many have grasped the nettle and look for the opportunities that Brexit presents. But petty political infighting is stymying these efforts and patience is running thin.
“The message to politicians who are hijacking the Brexit process is clear. Your actions today will have long-term consequences for our country and its citizens. There’s nowhere to hide. It’s time to get real before it’s too late.”