UK Finance – No-deal Brexit would be economically ‘catastrophic’
Responding to last night’s vote on the EU Withdrawal Agreement, the chief executive of UK Finance warned that “time is running out to avoid a chaotic ‘no-deal’ Brexit that would be catastrophic for the UK economy”.
Stephen Jones said that although financial services firms have contingency plans to minimise disruption in a no-deal scenario “critical cliff-edge risks remain”, including on the transfer of personal data and the operation of cross-border contracts.
Omar Ali, UK Financial Services Leader at EY, also believes that firms now “have no choice but to fully implement their no-deal plans”.
Ali said that whilst the result was widely expected, “it means there is still no clarity, with just 73 days until the planned exit date”.
EY’s most recent survey of financial services firms found that 24% of respondents do not believe they have time to execute their Brexit plans by March 2019.
Others in the finance and property industry expressed relief that MPs voted against the Government’s deal.
Guy Harrington, CEO of specialist property lender Glenhawk, said the outcome “is certainly better than the deal that was on offer”.
Harrington said he hopes “any further negotiations with the EU will now be delayed, and ultimately Brexit cancelled”.
Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and former RICS residential chairman, commented: “On the one hand, the risk of uncertainty for the property market increases after yesterday’s vote but on the other, it helps to concentrate minds on all sides as the threat of a ’no-deal’ rises, which was reflected in Sterling’s strengthening immediately after the result was announced.”
Leaf said “that most buyers and sellers he has spoken to believe a no-deal Brexit will lead to greater property market uncertainty.”
Stephen Jones concluded: “Parliament has made it very clear there is no agreement for the Government’s Deal. It is now essential that politicians on all sides of the House work together to agree a way forward and provide much-needed certainty to the electorate and businesses, by ensuring our withdrawal from the EU is orderly and gradual.
“There must also be a sufficient transition period to enable our future relationship with the EU to be agreed and then implemented.”
Source: Financial Reporter