From the blog of East Devon Alliance DCC Councillor Martin Shaw (Seaton and Colyton):
“The Heart of the South West Local Economic Partnership (LEP) has belatedly published a report (dated May 2018) on local businesses’ views of Brexit.
This table shows answers to the question, ‘What is your overall assessment at this stage of the likely impact of Brexit on your business?’
Don’t know (6)
The LEP summarises this table as ‘Businesses’ assessment of the overall impact of Brexit at this stage is quite varied.‘
VARIED? ONE BUSINESS OUT OF 29 THINKS ITS IMPACT WILL BE POSITIVE, COMPARED TO 9 WHO THINK NEGATIVE, AND THAT IS VARIED?
two-thirds of businesses have done no formal planning for Brexit
uncertainty is a big concern
the biggest specific concerns are about are changes to regulatory alignment [i.e. departure from the Single Market] and the speed of customs arrangements [i.e. departure from the Customs Union]
only 1 out of 29 expects it to be positive for their sector; 9 out of 29 expect it to be negative (the rest expect it to be ‘neutral’ or ‘mixed’, or don’t know)
This report (How firms across HotSW are preparing for Brexit, Report to HotSW LEP, Devon County Council and Partners) was prepared in March and April 2018, drawing on interviews conducted in February and March 2018, so it is already seriously out of date.
In the spring, businesses could reasonably have hoped for a deal:
What do businesses think now that May’s government has caved in to Rees-Mogg and ditched plans for a customs union with the EU?
What do they think of the ‘no deal’ scenario?
How are they going to cope if they still haven’t done the formal planning?
It isn’t difficult to guess. And why has this report been so delayed? Why wasn’t it reported earlier to DCC?”
Local Economic Partnership massages local businesses’ anxieties about Brexit: just 1 business out of 29 surveyed thought it would have a ‘positive’ impact, 9 said negative, many were worried – but that is just a ‘quite varied’ assessment according to the LEP!