Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan has today met with representatives of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, ahead of votes this month on Theresa May’s Brexit deal to hear views and concerns.
Businesses of all sizes in all sectors are concerned about the lack of planning for a no-deal scenario from Government. Despite recent and last minute efforts by Ministers to prepare for no-deal, many firms are already pausing investment, stockpiling goods and enacting contingency plans in the absence of clarity from the Government.
In advance of the meeting, Maureen Frost, Chief Executive of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce wrote to Mr Morgan:
“While many companies are actively preparing for a no-deal scenario, there are also hundreds of thousands who have yet to start – and cannot be expected to be ready in such a short space of time.
Firms need clarity, precision and reassurance. The longer businesses wait to understand what the future UK-EU relationship will look like, the bigger the hit to their near-term investment, expansion and confidence.
What they want is to know who they will be able to hire in future, how they will pay VAT, whether their goods will be stopped at borders, and whether the contracts they enter into will be enforceable”.
Hampshire Chamber of Commerce have already met with a number of local businesses that have operations across Europe in order to discuss the best ways in which to prepare.
Stephen Morgan MP said:
“Research from the British Chambers of Commerce shows that in a ‘no-deal’ scenario, many businesses would cut investment and recruitment, or move some of their operations elsewhere.
It was really helpful to meet with local representatives to continue to hear concerns from city businesses, as part of ongoing dialogue I’ve been having with fellow residents and our community.
It is clear from what I hear, that for businesses, time is rapidly running out. Even basic business planning for next year has become difficult, if not impossible, for many firms and their investors”.
Five British business groups, including the CBI have also expressed their concerns. The CBI have said that there is simply not enough time to prevent ‘severe dislocation and disruption’ and that ‘firms are pausing or diverting investment that should be boosting productivity, innovation, jobs and pay.
Mr Morgan has undertaken a survey across the constituency asking for people’s views on Brexit; pressed the Government on it’s economic analysis on Brexit and its impact on Portsmouth; repeatedly written to Ministers with concerns; used his role on the Public Accounts Committee to scrutinise Whitehall’s preparedness for Brexit; and; brought down the Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer MP to hear small businesses’ views.
Speaking ahead of the meaningful vote in Parliament expected this month, the MP added:
“Labour has been clear from the beginning that we must ensure jobs and our economy are protected, and standards and protections guaranteed.
A no-deal Brexit would be a disaster for jobs in Portsmouth, the nation’s economy and the border in Northern Ireland. It is simply not a viable option. It is testament to the Prime Minister’s failure that this is even being discussed.
That is why I will work with colleagues across all parties and all in Parliament to block a no-deal as soon as the Government’s half-baked Brexit deal is voted down”.