British businesses express concern about long Brexit delay

Even though British businesses on Thursday welcomed the European Council decision to extend the Brexit deadline, they showed concern about long Brexit delay may weigh on business further.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said: “For most businesses, the “flextension” agreed by the European Council will be preferable to deadlines that are repeatedly moved forward at the last possible moment. Businesses will be relieved, but their frustration with this seemingly endless political process is palpable.”

Carolyn Fairbairn, Director-General of Confederation of British Industry (CBI), said: “This new extension means that an imminent economic crisis has been averted, but it needs to mark a fresh start. More of the same will just mean more chaos this autumn.”

The CBI Joint Business Council, which is the voice of business across Ireland and Northern Ireland, said that many businesses had already incurred massive costs due to Brexit contingency planning and these would continue to escalate due to ongoing uncertainty.

CEO of British manufacturers’ organization Make UK Stephen Phipson noted about the economic damage that no-deal preparations are having on many small and medium-sized firms. “They have had to invest heavily in building up and maintaining stockpiles of parts and materials at great cost. Having to pay for warehousing and storage for many more months will come as a heavy blow,” he said.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said: “Uncertainty has already caused serious damage — car plants are on enforced shutdown, investment has been cut and jobs lost.”

Catherine McGuinness, Policy Chair at the City of London Corporation, warned that sustained uncertainty may result in more businesses moving jobs and operations away from the UK. “It is vital that politicians in the UK and EU come together to agree a withdrawal deal that puts people and business first and provides much needed certainty,” she said