Countdown to Brexit: 53 days – Quiet week in Parliament as business responds to threat of a no-deal Brexit

A quiet week in the House of Commons for Brexit with little Brexit-related business scheduled for the Chamber.  Much more activities both in Brussels and for Parliamentary Committees on the subject.

The Committee for ‘Exiting the EU’ – led by Hilary Benn – visits Brussels today as part of its overarching inquiry into the progress of negotiations.  Members will meet with Secretary General of the European Commission, Martin Selmayr; the UK's representative to the EU, Sir Tim Barrow; and Brexit Coordinator for the European Parliament, Guy Verhofstadt MEP.

Tuesday.  the Welsh Affairs Committee will look into the practicalities of a no-deal Brexit for Wales and the role of the Welsh Government and Assembly in future trade talks.

Wednesday.  Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Environmental Audit Committees will conduct pre-legislative scrutiny of the Draft Environment (Principles and Governance) Bill.

Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Greg Clark MP is scheduled to discuss the work of his department with the BEIS Committee.

The International Trade Committee will hear from Secretary of State, Dr Liam Fox MP

The European Scrutiny Committee - as part of their inquiry into the conduct of negotiations – will hear from former Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, Dominic Raab MP, and former Brexit Minister Suella Braverman MP.

Meanwhile, the latest Deloitte survey of UK Chief Financial Officers - released today – reports that CFOs are pessimistic about the long-term effects of Brexit.  More than three-quarters expect it to lead to a deterioration in the business environment. 

The UK growth forecasts now being driven by the uncertainty on whether there will be a ‘deal or no-deal’ Brexit.  This uncertainty is driving a shift towards defensive strategies among British businesses – with businesses are cutting back on capital expenditure and hiring.  Today’s Nissan announcement just the latest amongst an increasing number of firms looking move out of Britain.

What comes through is a difference of opinion between economists and CFOs on how Brexit will play out.  Economists expect a transition deal – whilst business is gearing up for a hard ‘no-deal’ Brexit, cutting down on investment, focusing on cost control, and pricing for a worst-case outcome in transport, logistics and availability of components.

In case you missed it - a round up of the last week’s news reported by Brexit Partners:

  • UK factories are stockpiling at the fastest pace since monitoring began nearly 30 years ago

  • Prime Minister Theresa May has been sent to renegotiate the Irish border backstop with Brussels

  • Nissan reversed its decision to build the new X-trail at its UK plant in Sunderland

  • European Council President Donald Tusk said the EU is not willing to negotiate a change to the UK’s withdrawal deal

  • European president Jean Claude Juncker said the UK’s attempt to renegotiate with little time left risks a disorderly Brexit and the EU ought to “prepare for the worst”

  • The UK Parliament voted down the Yvette Cooper amendment that would have allowed an extension of Article 50 if a deal weren’t reached by the end of February

  • Research by the UK’s Institute of Directors found that a fifth of their members have set up overseas operations as a result of Brexit

  • Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell said the United States Central Bank is monitoring Brexit and a no-deal scenario would have an impact on the US economy






John ShuttleworthComment