Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce
The Results are in: CEO’s Blog Post
The nation has spoken. After months of political infighting, claims and counter claims and intervention from business, media and world leaders, the verdict is in. The UK will leave the EU.
To my mind, there has never been a vote so close and so divisive. In Birmingham, for example, there were just 3800 votes between the two camps – 51.9% voting leave, 48.1% voting remain. Across the West Midlands 59.3% backed leave, 40.7% remain. Now we urgently need clarity and leadership from Government to bring the nation back together.
There will be many in the business community feeling unsettled and uncertain about this result and what it will mean for their organisation. And it’s no wonder: we are now in unchartered territory. There will also be those who are excited by the great potential of this new world.
A new chapter is about to unfold in the life of this great nation. But as we turn the pages of that chapter, we need, more than ever before, a period of collaboration, vision and clarity.
There will in the short- to mid-term at least be consequences for our economy as investors look to our political leadership for clarity on their vision for a post-Brexit UK and how it will relate to the EU, single market and trading partners across the world.
I would ask businesses to be positive and avoid knee-jerk reactions. We have several years of negotiations ahead before this vote becomes a reality and there is still plenty of business to be done.
Advocates of the leave campaign vocally dismissed the core economic arguments of the Remain camp as ‘project fear’ and pledged that our nation can grow just effectively outside of Europe as in. Now it’s time for them , and for all in the country to play a positive and constructive part in making that happen.
We urge the Government to step up, put political and personal differences aside and act in the best interests of our nation. We need our leaders to quickly, effectively and with one voice deliver a credible plan for a United Kingdom in a new, mid- and post-Brexit world.
We need any leadership challenges or Cabinet reshuffles to be dealt with quickly and cleanly so that the real work can begin. We need our Government to restore confidence in our economic and political future.
The negotiations required to guide Britain through Brexit will take a substantial amount of time, finesse and expertise. It will be at least two years before Brexit occurs, possibly longer if the Government agrees to put off activating Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty until negotiations are more advanced.
At the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce we will be working hard to guide and support our members through the post-referendum world as more information emerges (click here for more information). We will also be working with the British Chambers of Commerce and Chambers across the country to campaign hard for the needs of business.
Now is a time for collaboration, vision and clarity.
The results across the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce area were as follows:
Paul took over as CEO of the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce in June 2015, having previously been CEO of Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa. Locally, Paul is an Associate Non-Executive Director of Birmingham Children’s Hospital, and a Trustee of Cure Leukaemia, Town Hall Symphony Hall, and the Lord Mayor’s Charity.