British firms may accelerate no-deal plans, says CBI chief

Rather than put Brexit preparations on hold many UK companies are likely to accelerate their no-deal contingency plans despite plans to renegotiate a withdrawal agreement with the EU, says British trade association leader.

Brexit Source: Bloomberg

British companies are more likely to accelerate their no-deal plans rather than stall them, despite UK lawmakers voting to reopen Brexit talks in Brussels in the hopes of securing a better deal, CBI Director General Carolyn Fairbairn said in an interview with the BBC.

Fairbairn said labelled the government’s plans to renegotiate a new deal with the EU ‘a real throw of the dice’.

‘I don't think there will be a single business this morning who is stopping or halting their no-deal planning," she said. ‘I fear they may even be accelerating it.’

Theresa May seeks to reopen Brexit talks with EU leaders

Following a vote in parliament in favour of returning to Brussels to seek the removal of the Irish backstop – a policy aimed at avoiding a hard border in Ireland – the British Prime Minister Theresa May is looking to reopen talks with EU leaders.

May is desperately hoping that EU leaders will agree to remove the Irish backstop as it has become a major point of contention among pro-Brexit MPs in her own Conservative party and it is unlikely that she will have the necessary support to get a deal through parliament without the concession.

However, many are questioning the point of May returning to Brussels after EU leaders have repeatedly told her that they will not change the legal text of the deal.

British businesses in ‘despair’ over Brexit, says CBI chief

Fairbairn also said that many small and medium-sized businesses in the UK are underprepared for the Britain bailing out of the bloc without a deal in place on March 29.

‘I think the kind of concerns that people have around disruption are absolutely right,’ she said. ‘No deal is just not manageable at this stage.’

Other business associations have been vocal in their opposition to Britain leaving without a deal, with the Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce Adam Marshall calling on the government to take a no-deal Brexit off the table.

‘Neither government nor many businesses are ready for a no-deal exit in two months' time, and it must not be allowed to happen by default,’ he said.

Trading around Brexit

Find out how the UK’s exit from the EU continues to affect traders, and discover:

  • The unique opportunities in a ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ Brexit
  • The markets you should be watching
  • Everything that’s happened so far

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