Love Boris or loathe him, a new broom has swept through Westminster and a million-to-one chance of “no deal” has given way to Gove’s working assumption that it will happen. Change has always created opportunity for the canny. It’s time to be canny.
The possibility of no deal is rising and the CBI is advising all its members and businesses to prepare – again – for a potential no-deal Brexit. The cost and what it diverts resource from cannot be ignored, neither can the difficulty of time, logistics or uncertainty, but it is time to ramp up efforts. For every firm, these preparations will take a different form, but three principles for business preparation for no deal are important.
The CBI, in its report “What comes next”, urges the UK and EU to capitalise on the new political dynamic presented by the appointment of the new Prime Minister to work towards agreement on a deal that would be a catalyst for future growth and prosperity.
The report is based on thousands of conversations with firms of all sizes and sectors, including no fewer than 50 trade associations, spanning all areas of the UK economy. Overall, it illustrates that even with mitigation, no fewer than 24 of 27 areas of the UK economy would experience disruption (see the chart below).
With 128 pages, including the padding, it is a long report. So, have a coffee ready. Like many, I am tempted to put my head in the sand and hope it all goes away. But we need to raise our game and prepare for what may come. Those that do will be stronger and ready for any opportunities that will appear. For where there is change, there are always winners.
It’s time to escalate preparations. Having analysed Brexit preparations by the UK government, the European Commission, EU Member States and companies in the 27 areas of the UK’s relationship with the EU that are most important to businesses, the CBI has concluded that no one is ready for no deal.