Burning issue: February 2019

February 4, 2019

What’s your reaction to the CBI report that Government figures show a no-deal Brexit would cost the North East economy £7 billion a year by 2034?

Sarah Glendinning (pictured)
Regional director, CBI North East

The deadlock will only be broken by a genuine attempt by all MPs to find consensus and compromise, not stick to rusting red lines and political conditions. Like the rest of the UK, the North East is not – and cannot be – ready for no deal. The projected impact on our region’s economy would be devastating and while business will do all it can to reduce some of the worst aspects, a no deal scenario is unmanageable. The message from the CBI to our politicians is clear – we must see compromise or the whole country faces the unforgivable prospect of a disorderly Brexit which will affect jobs and livelihoods in the North East for decades to come. It’s time to put our region’s prosperity before party politics and dogma.

Claire Preston
CEO, Sound Training

These are alarming figures and as many pointed out pre- referendum – uncertainty can never be good for an economy. I agree wholeheartedly with the CBI’s message that it’s time to put our region’s prosperity before party politics.

As service providers within an international education market, our focus is now on developing relationships within the growing global economies, particularly in the Middle East and China. The ability for us to export with ease and clarity is essential and will ultimately add to the growth and prosperity of both our business and our region. Surely this is more achievable as part of Europe.

Colin Hewit
Head of commercial, Ward Hadaway

At Ward Hadaway, we’ve been speaking to many clients and it’s clear that – however they voted in the referendum – the vast majority see a no-deal Brexit as a major problem for business.

The main concerns voiced are delays at points of entry, increased costs of doing business, tariffs and access to and retaining a skilled workforce. The North has been improving its economic performance over recent years and bridging the gap between itself and other regions. In a no-deal scenario this hard-won improvement would be lost and our position as a great place to establish and grow new business would be damaged.

Jonathan Walker
Assistant director, policy, North East England Chamber of Commerce

The Chamber has been clear that no-deal is not an acceptable outcome for North East businesses. Our exporting strengths are built upon complex international supply chains. The immediate disruption to these would be hugely costly, while we would also suffer long term harm to our competitiveness and attractiveness as a place to invest.

We have been active in raising these concerns with regional and national politicians and we continue to urge the Government to extend Article 50 to avoid no-deal and build a consensus around a Brexit outcome that does not harm our firms’ ability to grow.