- U.K. heads towards a perfect storm
The long Christmas holiday is now over and the U.K. is returning to heated debates over Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal. In December, May delayed a vote on the deal to the second week of January – most probably on Jan. 15, according to Sky News sources. However, it seems like the majority in Parliament still remain opposed to May’s deal. Should a no vote emerge, U.K. businesses would be the most concerned as it would impact almost every single aspect of doing business as usual and lead the country to unchartered territory.
More than 200 MPs from various parties have signed a letter urging the government to take the prospect of a no-deal Brexit off the table, according to Sky News on Monday.
Politicians from the Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, Scottish National Party (SNP) and the Welsh Plaid Cymru parties endorsed the letter written by Meriden MP Caroline Spelman and Birmingham Erdington MP Jack Dromey. The group is concerned about the effects of a no-deal Brexit on the manufacturing sector.
"The renaissance of manufacturing and its supply chains in this country, bolstered by demand for exports, has markedly improved the lives of our constituents. The principal market for these exports has been the European Union,” they wrote in the letter.
Businesses are concerned, not only about the possibility of no deal Brexit but also on their ability to access and retain a skilled and competent workforce in the U.K.
Last week, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) announced that over four-fifths of manufacturers struggled to hire the right staff in the final months of 2018.
In a survey of more than six thousand employers across the country, the organization found 81 percent of manufacturers and 70 percent of service sector firms reported difficulties in finding staff with the right qualifications and experience. This means that British manufacturers currently face the largest shortage of skilled workers since 1989, with U.K. employment at a record high, and with fewer EU27 nationals arriving in the U.K. to work since the Brexit vote.
This week promises more heated debates prior to the vote on May’s deal. In the event of a no vote, May might have to either step down from her leadership of the Conservative party or travel to Brussels once again to renegotiate the terms of the deal and seek concessions to swing the opponents in her party to vote in favor of her deal. In either case, a no vote will increase the possibility of the most feared scenario – a no deal Brexit.