Why a Brexit extension is best for British businesses

Why a Brexit extension is best for British businesses

Managing Director | SCALA

Given that the Brexit referendum was only advisory, not in any way binding, there have really always been four potential outcomes open to us: leave with no deal, leave with Theresa May’s deal, leave the EU but remain in the customs union, and remain.

“While they may trade with other countries around the world, most businesses I speak to agree that their most valuable trade is carried out within the EU. And it is this trade which is now in jeopardy. As a result, of those four potential outcomes, the vast majority of businesses would have opted to remain, or leave but remain in the customs union, at a push.

However, as soon as the result of the referendum was revealed, the Government completely disregarded those two outcomes, and we have been nonsensically stuck between no-deal or Mrs May’s deal ever since.

Now that a third vote on Theresa May’s deal has been blocked by the Speaker John Bercow, we have potentially edged one step closer to a no-deal Brexit. Despite MPs voting to reject a no-deal Brexit last week, this will still be the default on the 29th March unless Mrs May can manage to get the other EU member states to agree to an extension in time.

An extension would undoubtedly be by far the best outcome now for British businesses. Delaying the deadline until at least the summer would give us the chance to come together to campaign for either a second referendum in which the options are properly laid out, or at the very least to stay in the customs union.

However, even if we still face a no-deal Brexit following a delay, the additional few months would have given businesses an invaluable opportunity to prepare themselves as thoroughly as possible. An extension would allow businesses to look beyond stockpiling and put in place more effective, long-term risk-reduction strategies by undertaking a full assessment of their supply chains, protecting themselves against the uncertainty that lies ahead.