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Businesses ‘still in the dark’ over government’s Brexit trade plans

Written by on 19/10/2020

Two-thirds of businesses say the government has done a poor job of communicating its plans for a post-Brexit trade agreement, according to a survey.

The YouGov online poll of 1,000 businesses showed 21% described the communication as somewhat poor and 45% very poor.

Just 8% said the government had done a very good job and 20% described it as somewhat good.

Six percent said they did not know.

When asked how much communication they had received about plans for a post-Brexit trade agreement, 25% said not much and 28% said none at all.

It comes as businesses trading with Europe were warned by Prime Minister Boris Johnson that time is running out to prepare for a no-deal Brexit.

Mr Johnson and Michael Gove, the cabinet minister in charge of no-deal planning, are to hold talks with business leaders, urging them to step up their efforts.

More from Brexit

A publicity campaign, entitled “Time is running out”, is being launched and HMRC is writing to 200,000 firms to inform them of new customs and tax rules.

The move follows the collapse of trade negotiations between the UK and EU last week, with Lord Frost, the chief negotiator, telling his EU counterpart not to bother returning to Britain this week.

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‘Half of firms have gone backwards’ in Brexit planning

One out of five businesses told YouGov they were very well prepared for the end of the transition period, another 38% said they were somewhat prepared.

But 30% said they were poorly or very poorly prepared.

Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, director general at the Confederation of British Industry, told Sky’s Ian King Live that businesses had done “as much as they can” but half of them “have gone backwards in their preparations”.

She added: “We are in the middle of a global pandemic.

“Brexit was knocked off the front page of every board agenda in the country, so we can’t expect businesses to be fully prepared and I think frankly the same is also true of government.

“We will do all we can and frankly even if there’s a deal there will be very important changes.

“We are letting our members and businesses know to prepare for those, but honestly I think the massive responsibility is on negotiators on both sides to get a deal. This really is jobs and livelihoods at stake on both sides of the Channel.”

Michael Gove suggested on Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday that there is now a less than 50% chance of the UK striking a post-Brexit trade deal.

“Make no mistake, there are changes coming in just 75 days and time is running out for businesses to act,” he added.

 Sky News

© Sky News 2020

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