This Week in Brexit: 20th January


This Week In Brexit:

This week saw Prime Minister Theresa May reveal her 12 Brexit negotiation objectives (click here for the full list). Theresa May’s speech on Tuesday caused a stir through its clear confirmation that the UK will be leaving the Single Market and warning shots to EU leaders. You can read our Chamber response here.

The market response was mixed, following May’s speech the FTSE 100 saw its biggest one day fall since June 2016. By contrast, the FTSE 250 fell just 0.4%. After falls in the days preceding, the pound rallied on Tuesday as investors reacted to not only May’s speech but the latest CPI figures.

Across Europe, the response was also mixed. European Council President Donald Tusk approved of May being “more Churchill than…Trump” but warned Britain would not be able to use “pick-and-choose tactics” in negotiations. By contrast, one German MEP took it particularly to heart calling it a big “f*** you” to the EU.

This week, in a break from the usual This Week in Brexit format we’ve invited guest blogger Richard Guy, Co-Founder and Managing Director of SimkissGuy Recruitment to share his personal views on Theresa May’s speech. Richard is a member of the GBCC Brexit Advisory Group:


There are a few points missing from the 12 point plan!


They say that timing is everything in politics and, earlier this week, Theresa May’s 12 point plan was received relatively positively by the markets with a short lived surge in the value of Sterling immediately following it’s delivery. It’s a sign of how quickly times are changing and we now seem to have entered a period of pragmatic acceptance that, to quote Mrs May, “Brexit means Brexit”. If this plan had been presented a few months ago, it’s hard to imagine that it would have had anything but the opposite effect.

After the excitement of the announcement had subsided our currency soon returned to its’ pre-announcement levels. The Prime Minister has made a valiant attempt to offer reassurance to businesses and markets as to Brexit’s final destination by promising certainty on the process, a smooth orderly Brexit, trade agreements with the EU and beyond, protection for  the rights of EU citizens in Britain and vice versa. I expect the PM feels that she’s revealed as much as she can.

We need more.

We need more detail on how the government plans to support the business community through the transition. A bold and ambitious FTA with the EU would be fabulous but, with freed trade seemingly locked to Brexit’s arch nemesis, the free movement of labour, is this achievable at all, let alone within the time frame available? So how do we do business in the interim?

We need to understand on what basis we will be able to bring in talent from Europe and beyond. Business needs to be able to deploy talent where ever it’s needed regardless of borders and with the minimum of red tape.

We need certainty for those EU citizens currently living in the UK. A unilateral declaration to honour the status of EU citizens would be welcomed by the business community and would most likely be reciprocated. We should take the ‘high ground’ on this and resist the temptation to play politics with people’s lives and jobs by holding their liberty to work in the UK to ransom. It’s just wrong!

As an owner/director of an SME, I want reassurance that the government will not confuse the needs of business with the needs of big business and, be seduced into satiating the demands of just multi-national corporations to the detriment of smaller companies.

We’re in uncharted territory and, by definition; detail is going to be on short ration but please, as soon as you can Mrs May, give us more!