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Business needs to get behind the People's Vote

November 29, 2018 12:39 PM
By Liberal Democrat European Group

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has myopically decided to support May's miserable Brexit Agreement with the European Union (EU). In so doing they have opted to sacrifice longer-term certainty for the seeming short-term certainty of a deal which at best delays a regulatory cliff-edge for just two years, and holds out the promise of trade deals inferior to what we enjoy now as a member of the EU.

Many companies are trying to establish a realistic and workable plan for B Day (Brexit Day) and beyond. Many others are simply not preparing. The companies preparing for Brexit are desperate to find ways to avoid customers being devoid of products and end users being let down. They are creating UK buffer stocks, stock piling by any other name. This of course involves huge effort and additional costs associated with the extra rented warehouse space needed.

Add in 'new' financial and other regulations coming into play and new questions arise. Do goods involved in any buffer stock need to be paid for in full once they cross in from the EU? Will the EU legally be able to permit it? If buffer stocks are increased on the EU side, who pays for the added space and unsold product?

The exchange rate between the pound and the euro will also make the cost of bringing goods into the UK more expensive. But again new questions arise. Who pays? How do you mitigate the impact of unpredictable exchange rates? How do businesses accommodate what has already happened since June 2016?

We all hear the many projections of food and medicine shortages, but too many still dismiss reality as 'Project Fear'. There are also potentially huge supply issues on the horizon for the construction industry regarding the supply of kitchens, bathrooms and shower rooms. This is just the tip of a very large 'iceberg'. Supply and food security issues, which will impact directly on peoples' daily lives, need to be addressed and resolved. Unfortunately, it may be that only once we are outside the EU looking in, the full reality will kick in and the benefits of being an EU member will be more widely accepted.

So let's hope we can secure the People's Vote, a vote with the option to Exit Brexit. This is the best deal for both business and consumers. If we do secure a People's Vote, let's also hope we are prepared to win the campaign to remain in the EU. The EU is far from perfect but it has served us well for decades. We are better on the inside working to reform the EU, rather than on the outside, isolated and unable to influence an economic bloc of well over 500 million people. That's why business needs to and is increasingly backing a People's Vote https://www.peoples-vote.uk/business_for_a_people_s_vote

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