4 July 2018

Businesses across the UK are running out of patience with politicians, at least according to the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) which has published 23 issues where clarity is urgently needed and pointed out that the Government has made progress on just two.

These are the “top real-world questions” being asked about Brexit, the BCC claims, and answers are urgently needed so that firms can plan their trade following the UK’s departure from the EU.

Director General Adam Marshall said: “Businesses have every right to speak out when it is abundantly clear that the practical questions affecting the competitiveness of their firms and the livelihoods of millions of people remain unanswered.”

With barely nine months go to until Brexit day, he points out, the country is little closer to the answers businesses need than it was the day after the referendum.

The BCC accepts that there have been assurances on the status of EU nationals in the UK workforce and on the industrial standards regime so gives these two issues amber status.

However, the signal is still set on red for a range of other matters including:

  • Tax: will a business need to pay VAT on goods at point of import and will services firms need to be registered in every EU Member State where it has clients?

  • Tariffs: what Rules of Origin will firms have to comply with to receive preferential tariff rates?

  • Customs: will goods be subject to new procedures and therefore delayed at border checkpoints?

  • Regulation: will checks on goods conducted in the UK be recognised by the EU?

  • Mobility: will employers be able to transfer staff between the EU and the UK using the same processes as currently?

  • R&D: will UK businesses be able to participate in EU projects after 2020?

With the time running out ahead of the UK’s exit from the EU, Mr Marshall warns, business patience is reaching breaking point.

Hitting back at politicians who have criticised businesses for speaking out on Brexit, he concluded: “These are not ‘siren voices’ or special interests. They are the practical, real-world concerns of businesses of every size and sector, in every part of the UK.”