With just eight days to go until Britain is meant to formally leave the European Union by automatic operation of law, Lincolnshire’s economy chief has said a no-deal exit would be “low risk” for the county’s businesses.
The UK is set to leave the EU on March 29, 2019, with or without a withdrawal agreement. Some have warned that no deal between Britain and Europe would leave the country “crashing out” and inflicting economic self harm. Strong words have been banded around newspapers and political shows about how disastrous or delightful such an exit would be.
But Councillor Colin Davie, executive member for economy and place at the county council, has made his view clear. A board member of the Greater Lincolnshire Enterprise Partnership, he said the county is as “well prepared” as it can be for such a scenario.
“We consider that the impact for Lincolnshire is low risk,” he said. “We believe we are as well prepared as we can be and we believe the impact of a World Trade Organisation exit will be minimal.”
However, he added that some will find hardship in such an exit. “I’m not saying that some will not find hardship, they will,” he said. “But we are here to help them through that process and I am clear that the government needs to make a decision on what it is doing.”
The position is in stark contrast with his Conservative colleague Nick Boles MP, who recently quit his own local Conservative association over the prospect. Mr Boles described a no-deal Brexit as being “disastrously bad” for his constituency of Grantham.
SMEs appear to have resolved to deal with ‘deals’ when and if they come, refusing to make preparations for a no deal scenario because the ‘don’t have the resources to’. The Federation of Small Businesses this week said that conflicting views and advice from politicians means businesses feel they don’t have the expertise to plan ahead. “We’re in the hands of the gods”, added FSB’s Alan Soady.
Prime Minister Theresa May recently sought an extension to Article 50 in an effort to try and push through her controversial deal in the House of Commons. But time is ticking and a resolution either way is needed as Brexit day fast approaches.
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