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Brexit latest: where does business stand now?

It has been a tumultuous few years in the world of British politics and whilst not much has changed in terms of advice for businesses preparing for Brexit, the terms under which the UK is leaving the EU appear to change at any given moment.

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MPs have passed a bill to delay Brexit if no deal can be reached by October 31st

The latest vote in the House of Commons has seen a Brexit delay bill passed, with 327 votes to 299. The bill, which would force the prime minister to ask the EU for a delay to prevent a no-deal, now has to pass through the House of Lords.

Head of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Carolyn Fairbairn, told the BBC today (Thursday 5th) that the bill is a “chink of light” for UK businesses, but the “cloud has not gone away” until a deal is agreed.

She added that businesses are continuing to prepare and stockpile “at enormous cost and expense” for a no-deal, calling it a “wasteful” effort. It has been reported that the bill could be ready for royal assent on Monday, September 9th.

The CBI has previously said that leaving the EU with a deal is essential for business in the UK.

… the bill is a “chink of light” for UK businesses, but the “cloud has not gone away”

Last night (Wednesday 4th), the Commons rejected prime minister Boris Johnson’s motion calling for a general election, by 298 votes to 56. He would have needed 434 votes to reach a two-thirds majority.

So, it appears the UK is no closer to securing a deal than it was back in November, when Theresa May’s first draft bill was introduced.

Meanwhile, the government has rolled out its largest public information campaign to tell business owners and the public how they can prepare for Brexit.

In its latest look at Brexit in July, the British Printing Industries Federation (BPIF) noted that preparations for a no-deal scenario had been stepped up.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid announced in his spending review yesterday a £13.8bn package for public spending in 2020 to 2021, including an extra £2bn for Brexit preparations.

… the announcement has been met with cynicism, with the shadow chancellor calling Javid’s speech “grubby electioneering”

But the announcement has been met with cynicism, with the shadow chancellor, Labour’s John McDonnell, calling Javid’s speech “grubby electioneering” and a “compendium of meaningless platitudes”, whilst others have pointed out the spending promises only look to undo the cuts implemented by austerity under a Conservative government over the last nine years.

The High Court is currently hearing whether prime minister Johnson’s move to prorogue Parliament from September 9th until October 14th is legal, challenged by legal campaigner and businesswoman Gina Miller.

Miller’s lawyer, Lord Pannick QC, says the prorogation breached the legal principle of Parliamentary sovereignty. Others have criticised the decision as it prevents MPs debating Brexit at a crucial time. The case continues.

For the meantime, business owners can get the latest advice via its dedicated Brexit page, where there are a number of guides covering exporting to and importing from the EU, dealing with staff from EU countries, and travelling in and out of the EU.

If you have a news story, email summer@linkpublishing.co.uk or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn to join the conversation.

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