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Northern Powerhouse

Brexit weekly news 25 March

The one thing that is for sure this week is that the UK will no longer be leaving the EU on 29 March. Beyond that, the scenarios for planning are now fragmented. In previous months, the UK government has been categorical in ruling out a second referendum or extension to Article 50, stating that the current, negotiated deal was the only option, besides no deal. Now all options are back on the table. The next 72 hours should bring more votes and possibly, the Commons trying to take control of the destiny of the withdrawal arrangements.

To review the progress and the actions needed to legislate under a no deal, the Institute of Government (IoG) has devised achart tracking progress here. The IoG also discusses the options around Article 50 extension and revocation.

Business lobby groups have written to the European Commission,warning that its own no-deal Brexit plans "fall short of what is needed to limit major disruptions". The letter is from Business Europe - an umbrella body for lobby groups across the EU, including Britain's CBI - saying the businesses in the EU are ‘not ready’ for a no deal Brexit.

CNN report that Brexit is costing $1 billion per week. The economy is now 2% smaller than it would have been if the United Kingdom had chosen to remain in the bloc, according to the Bank of England. The economic output lost since the referendum is worth about £800 million ($1 billion) per week, or £4.7 million ($6 million) per hour.

Sky News reports that some of the UK’s biggest companies are left in limbo, having spent millions of pounds preparing for a Brexit that is now delayed.  The managing director of Chiltern Cold Storage is reported as saying: "Personally I just want to see a decision made so that the industry, the whole of the industry, can get on with doing their jobs. 110% capacity is not an efficient way to operate but we need to service our customers and make sure their needs are met so we are squeezing every ounce of space that we can out of the units."

Laura Tenison, founder of JoJo Maman Bebe, said consumer confidence was at an all-time low.  “Until about six months ago we were doing well, we continued to grow, but recently the lack of consumer confidence is so apparent, people don't know when their job stability is going to be given back to them," she said. Ms Tenison said she was sure Brexit uncertainty was to blame because the company does its own business analysis. "They're just not buying as much and looking at their spend more carefully - they're not coming in to store as often and it's online too."

Bloomberg considers how Brexit and de-industrialisation of the UK economy is leading to a potential ‘rebalancing’ of the economy.

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