Businesses watching politics with “resignation” as battle for PM hots up

Businesses watching politics with “resignation” as battle for PM hots up

KPMG Head of Brexit, James Stewart has said that businesses are watching the unfolding political drama with "resignation" as 10 MPs step forward to lead

Businesses watching politics with “resignation” as battle for PM hots up

Businesses across the UK are hoping for a speedy resolution to political dramas as they make preparations for Brexit, KPMG said.

They want to know if ‘no deal’ will soon be back on the table, and are watching political developments with “resignation”, according to KPMG.

Theresa May’s announcement that she will step down on June 7 has sparked a clamour for the top job with 10 MPs putting their names forward, including favourite Boris Johnson. However, businesses are urging politicians to sort the process to out quickly.

“The Brexit holiday that businesses might have been enjoying is now over,” said James Stewart, Head of Brexit at KPMG. “Few businesses are in the mood to make further provisions at this stage and most hope that the leadership contest will be over quickly.”

Many of the candidates have tried to appeal to the most extreme Brexiteers in the party like Mark Francois and Jacob-Rees Mogg and believe that in order to win the leadership contest, ‘no deal’ must be the default position of the government.

Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey told Sky News on Sunday that “the best thing we can do is prepare to leave with no deal,” while former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson told a conference in Switzerland: “We will leave the EU on 31 October, deal or no deal.” Another leadership hopeful, Andrea Leadsom, told the BBC that the UK should leave without a deal “if necessary”.

Brexit impact already apparent

Meanwhile, Brexit is beginning to have an impact on businesses even though the UK has not yet left EU.

“A lot of the focus has shifted towards businesses’ own supply chains. Not just manufacturers of goods, but also the lenders and financial services firms in the chain so that they identify any potential weaknesses,” said Stewart.

“Retaining people with the right skills is another area of concern, given the uncertainty around the new immigration rules. Fruit pickers for example have been late in arriving and not in the usual numbers,” he added.

With all the potential permutations that Parliament could throw up from ‘No Deal’ to a second referendum or even a General Election, businesses crave certainty.

“Above all, businesses tell us that Brexit remains a huge distraction. They are reluctant to waste too much effort, but the worry is that they will implement their plans at the last minute and delay important investment decisions,” said Stewart.

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