Responding to the Prime Minister’s statement outlining the Government’s next steps on Brexit, Allie Renison, Head of Europe and Trade Policy at the Institute of Directors, said:
“The stasis continues. The Prime Minister’s statement was correct to the extent that Parliament does have to come together over a plan if no deal is to be avoided. There is lots of talk of ‘taking no deal off the table’, but the law is clear that the UK will leave the EU on 29 March, with or without a withdrawal agreement. Two-thirds of our members say that leaving without a deal would be negative for their businesses and nearly 80% made clear they don’t want to see it happen. We desperately need politicians to get serious about finding a way forward.
“While the Government is downplaying the idea of extending article 50, the longer this deadlock continues, the less time there is for firms to be ready. If the Government’s withdrawal deal fails in Parliament again they may have no choice but to look at some form of technical extension, at least for a limited period. Only 14% report feeling very prepared for no deal and vast amounts of detail about the processes for business to use on day one are still missing, so there is little more information available to firms to let them do what limited planning they can to protect against its worst impacts. Businesses really are between the devil and the deep blue sea.
“Unfortunately, as frustrating as the lack of progress is, few businesses were expecting significant clarity today. The only surprise about the PM’s statement, albeit a positive one, was the announcement the Government would be waiving the fee for applying for settled status. It’s a welcome step, although the Government still needs to provide more guidance about how the scheme would work in the event of no deal.”