22 March 2017

As the Prime Minister confirms that she will invoke Article 50 on 29 March, a survey by a leading law firm has revealed that the lack of information about what happens next is causing real concern among UK business leaders.

"Making sense of Brexit: The views of UK business", a survey by Eversheds Sutherland (International), highlights that "…too many UK companies remain dangerously unprepared for Brexit" and blames lack of clarity from politicians.

Arguments about hard and soft Brexit, and phrases such as "red, white and blue Brexit" and "a deal that is good for the whole country" have done nothing to help businesses prepare for the possible outcomes of the forthcoming negotiations.

More than 170 CEOs, chairmen, managing directors and finance directors from organisations of every type and size were questioned by the survey.

Ros Kellaway, Head of EU and Trade Law at Eversheds, was concerned to note that 80% of respondents have not taken any particular steps to prepare for Brexit, opting instead for a "wait and see" approach.

"Article 50 is due to be triggered," she pointed out. "Businesses need to start preparing and planning now: on trade, people, transition and timing. The two-year Brexit negotiation period will burn-by very quickly."

The financial services sector seems to be the only area where action is being taken with Brexit planning largely noticeable by its absence in other areas.

Ms Kellaway agrees that very little detail has been given on what Brexit will look like for the business community, making the terms of the UK’s exit from, and its future relationship with the EU, unclear.

Employers need to be planning for a variety of post-Brexit outcomes, she suggested, including a more restrictive immigration policy and the need for different approaches to training and recruitment.