They say that timing is everything in politics and, earlier this week, Theresa May’s 12 point plan was received relatively positively by the markets with a short lived surge in the value of Sterling immediately following it’s delivery. It’s a sign of how quickly times are changing and we now seem to have entered a period of pragmatic acceptance that, to quote Mrs May, “Brexit means Brexit”. If this plan had been presented a few months ago, it’s hard to imagine that it would have had anything but the opposite effect.
After the excitement of the announcement had subsided our currency soon returned to its’ pre-announcement levels. The Prime Minister makes a valiant attempt to offer reassurance to businesses and markets as to Brexit’s final destination by promising certainty on the process, a smooth orderly Brexit, trade agreements with the EU and beyond, protection for the rights of EU citizens in Britain and vice versa.
We need more.
We need more detail on how the government plans to support the business community through the transition. A bold and ambitious FTA with the EU would be fabulous but, with freed trade seemingly locked to Brexit’s arch nemesis, free movement of labour, is this achievable at all, let alone within the time frame available? How do we do business in the interim?
We need to understand on what basis we will be able to bring in talent from Europe and beyond. Business needs to be able to deploy talent where ever it’s needed regardless of borders and with the minimum of red tape.
We need certainty for those EU citizens currently living in the UK. A unilateral declaration to honour the status of EU citizens would be welcomed by the business community and would most likely be reciprocated. We should take the ‘high ground’ on this and resist the temptation to play politics with people’s lives and jobs by holding their liberty to work in the UK to ransom. It’s just wrong!
As an owner/director of an SME, I want reassurance that the government will not confuse the needs of business with the needs of big business and, be seduced into satiating the demands of multi-national corporations to the detriment of smaller companies.
We’re in uncharted territory and, by definition; detail is going to be on short ration but please, as soon as you can Mrs May, give us more!