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With less than 50 days to go until the UK is scheduled to leave the EU, the NWLCC  highlights the many key issues that are still unclear for businesses in a ‘no deal’ scenario on March 29 – from what trade agreements will be in place with countries around the globe, to whether and how firms can move skilled staff between the UK and EU, and which regulations they will need to follow.

Many questions remain unanswered and will affect how business operate. For instance, the terms of trade agreements can affect pricing decisions, margins, even choice of business location and the geography of supply chains.

The absence of clarity and precision has already stifled investment and growth, and is resulting in unnecessary costs, inability to plan and, increasingly, loss of business as customers look elsewhere.

Business has been clear that it does not want a messy and disorderly exit from the EU on March 29. While firms understand that negotiations are still ongoing, they are hugely concerned that the UK is not prepared for all eventualities – and that the sluggish and patchy nature of government planning for ‘no deal’ would become all too apparent in the economy if it is allowed to happen by default.

The leading business group – which represents 1600 local firms of all sizes and sectors across the county employing nearly 70000 people – is demanding answers.  While government agencies urge business communities to prepare for all scenarios, the Chamber says they are failing to give firms the tools and information needed to do so. As a result, businesses risk being left hung out to dry.

Babs Murphy, chief Executive of the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce said (NWLCC): 

“In less than 50 days, businesses could face the biggest change to their terms of trade in over a generation, without the information and clarity they need to navigate their forward course.

“There is a very real risk that a lack of clear, actionable information from government will leave firms, their people and their communities hung out to dry.

“Even those companies trying their hardest to get ready are still in the dark on important matters from contracts through to customs. Many others, who took the decision to wait for the political process to conclude before acting, would face sudden and costly adjustments if a deal is not reached.

“It is little wonder that many firms have been holding back on investment, stockpiling, and even opening offices and moving operations and jobs elsewhere. The imperative remains to avoid a messy and disorderly exit on March 29th, but businesses need answers they can base decisions on, no matter the outcome. The lack of clear, precise answers is now causing real damage to many businesses, and to the wider economy.”

“The Chamber is doing its bit by providing regular briefings to its membership and on top of that we’ve taken a decision to hold a Brexit conference on Friday 26th April taking place at the Preston Guild Hall”. 

An unrivalled line up of experts including Kwasi Kwarteng MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, will deliberate on the most important issues in modern British politics. Planned to take place almost a month after the UK’s scheduled withdrawal, the event will provide the latest appraisal of the ever changing political, economic and social veracities of the withdrawal process and its potential effects on business. 

The conference is free to attend and all businesses operating in Lancashire are welcome.

To reserve places email: info@lancschamber.co.uk with the subject line ‘Brexit Conference’.

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