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Northern Powerhouse

Brexit weekly news 18 March

The UK is due to leave the EU in 10 days and still, there is no certainty for businesses.  The possibility of the Withdrawal Agreement being voted on by the Commons for a third time, has been ruled out by the Speak of the House. So, what are the next steps?

It is most likely that the Prime Minister will go before the EU council this Thursday to request an extension to Article 50, giving the UK more time to prepare for the exit from the EU.  Then, subject to an extension being in place, it is being predicted in the media that the Prime Minister will look for adjustments in her deal in order to represent. 

Whilst leaving the EU on the 29th March is the ‘legal default position’, the media reports show that it is unlikely that the UK will leave without a deal on this date. This was reflected in the Commons vote last week, when there was majority support for an extension and a negotiated deal, of some kind. 

Analysis of the length of Article 50 extension is discussed on the Institute for Government site 

The Fuelling Fintech report from TheCityUK, which promotes Britain as a financial centre, said fintech and other financial services firms are struggling to recruit the right employees in light of the potential immigration restrictions after Brexit but there needs to be more emphasis on ‘home grown’ talent. 

Another indicator of difficulties accessing labour from Europe has come from the agricultural sector where a British asparagus grower reports that his business has had to work hard to attract migrant workers, with worries that the crops will remain in the ground. 

Even with some form of deal being adopted, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said    that business investment was forecast to fall by an annual 1.0 percent in 2019.  Weak investment by companies drags on productivity which puts a brake on wage rises and weighs on the overall economy.


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