27/09/2019

Belfast Firms Reject No-Deal Brexit

An overwhelming majority of Belfast firms have rejected the growing possibility of a no-deal Brexit in a recent survey.

While the House of Commons is in disarray following the Supreme Court judgement outlawing Prime Minister Boris Johnson's prorogation, the 31 October withdrawal deadline is looming, without any apparent prospects of a deal.

Local Belfast companies, however, delivered a resounding "no" when asked if they support leaving the EU without a deal.

Some 83% told the Belfast Chamber of Commerce that no-deal would be damaging for both their business and the local economy.

Main concerns raised in the survey included the potential to effect supply chains, future investment in their business, access to finance and funding, consumer confidence and their ability to hire both highly and lower skilled staff.

A no-deal crash out is the default outcome if MPs fail to secure and agree a deal with the EU ahead of the deadline. Parliament has passed a law that tries to avoid such an outcome, however it can't make it illegal.

The legislation does, however, oblige Mr Johnson to request a three-month delay by 19 October, unless MPs opt to vote for no-deal or pass a deal before that date.

Insistent upon "getting Brexit done," the Prime Minister maintains that the UK will leave by the deadline "come what may".
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Commenting on the survey results, Belfast Chamber Chief Executive Simon Hamilton said: "Businesses in Belfast are extremely concerned about the impact that the UK falling out of the European Union without a deal could have upon their businesses and the wider economy.

"With such serious concerns and a real fear about how the entire region's economy will be negatively affected, it is hardly surprising that 86% of our members oppose 'No Deal'."

Also revealed in the survey was the notion among firms of a lack of Government support in terms of no-deal preparations. 91% of respondents expressed this view.

Mr Hamilton continued: "It is therefore welcome that the Government has recently released funding to help businesses to improve their readiness for Brexit.

"This level of concern about the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal cannot be dismissed. More than three quarters of our members report that uncertainty surrounding Brexit has already impacted negatively upon their business and they are really worried about what 'No Deal' would do. The opinion of Belfast Chamber members echoes what businesses in a variety of sectors in all parts of the UK have said. The views of Belfast Chamber members underscore the need for the Government to avoid a 'No Deal' exit from the EU not just now, but in the future too."



(JG/CM)

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