CBI Warns Of No Deal Preparedness
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI), sometimes referred to as the “bosses union” claims to represent the interests of 190000 businesses in the UK, although only 1500 of that number are direct members of the organisation. It is probably one of the most authentic voices for British industry which, by the nature of business, has no direct voice.
According to the CBI, neither businesses in the UK nor their counterparts in the EU are properly prepared for a “no deal” outcome to the Brexit process which currently seems the most likely outcome from the UK government’s management of the process.
Despite Mr Johnson’s claims that a “no deal” Brexit is “a million to one” shot, the government is stepping up preparedness for just such an outcome. The CBI noted: "While the UK's preparations to date are welcome, the unprecedented nature of Brexit means some aspects cannot be mitigated. And although businesses have already spent billions on contingency planning for no deal, they remain hampered by unclear advice, timelines, cost and complexity. Larger companies, particularly those in regulated areas such as financial services, have well-thought-through contingency plans in place, though smaller firms are less well prepared."
The CBI has published a report entitled “What Comes Next?” which aims to provide an indication of what UK businesses can do to mitigate the worst effects of a chaotic Brexit. The report has been based on information made available from both the UK government and the EU, but also from some businesses and member states.
The CBI concludes that planning for a chaotic Brexit is more advanced in the UK than the EU. However, in 24 out of 27 sectors, the UK economy will experience disruption from a “no deal” outcome. CBI deputy director, Josh Hardie told the BBC’s Today programme that: "A deal is absolutely essential if we're to manage the economy in the best way that we can." He pointed out that preparing for a “no deal” outcome did not point to a shift of position for the CBI, explaining: "If you see a storm coming, you put down the sandbags. It doesn't mean you're going to stop all the flood water, you'll probably still lose the kitchen but you might save the bedroom and that's where we are right now."
"Crucially, while there is more to do, the CBI observes that the UK is ahead of the EU in planning for no deal," noted a government spokesperson.