With continued confusion over the Brexit process, financial and business advisors Grant Thornton is urging local businesses to update their contingency plans.
The announcement follows a delay to Brexit with the UK now not expected to leave the EU on 29 March. However, with the final outcome still uncertain, Grant Thornton has outlined the likely next steps to help businesses navigate the coming weeks:
1. The EU has granted an extension to the Brexit process until the 22 May, conditional on the Prime Minister’s deal being approved by Parliament within the next week. The delay was required because, if accepted, the Withdrawal Agreement needs to be translated into a full Act of Parliament which will take longer.
2. The third so called ‘meaningful vote’ is expected to take place this week. If approved, the two month extension is likely to cause similar uncertainty experienced in the past three months unless, and until, the agreement is fully incorporated into UK law. A no deal outcome still remains a possibility at the end of the extension.
3. If the deal is rejected by Parliament, the UK has until 12 April to outline the proposed next steps. MPs may propose alternative solutions, an emergency EU summit could result in a longer delay, or the UK could leave the EU with no agreement in place.
Adam Jackson, head of public affairs and director of Brexit advisory services from Grant Thornton said: “The last few days have seen complete Brexit chaos with disagreements across government and Parliament. The announcement of a delay provides no further clarity for businesses as the list of potential outcomes is widening, not narrowing. Whilst we might slowly start to see some clarity over the next week or two, this is far from certain. In the meantime, businesses need to continue to review and update their contingency plans to ensure they can respond quickly to any changes in the local market or across the wider economy.”
Firms are advised to continue to evolve their response strategies following the latest developments as new information becomes available.
Adam added: “If your business is not yet ready for Brexit then clear your diary, bring your team together and get things moving. it’s not too late! Whatever happens, firms need to be match fit and focus on the basics from retaining staff, monitoring cash flow and removing unnecessary costs. With strong underlying foundations in the local economy, businesses have every reason to be confident if they stay calm, carry on but be prepared for change.”