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Northern Powerhouse

Brexit weekly digest 1 April

Whilst the Commons Ministers were unable to find any form of consensus on how to break the Brexit political deadlock, business leaders continue to call for stability and decisions to be made.   Theresa May has offered her early departure in an attempt to focus consensus, so the UK is now facing a leadership contest in parallel to Brexit negotiations.

No-deal Brexit would be 'flagrant dereliction of MPs' duty', say businesses.  'No one would run a business like this – and it is no way to run a country,'  says Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce.   MPs would be guilty of a “flagrant dereliction of duty” if the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal a leading business group has said.  UK firms are “frustrated” and “angry” at Parliament's handling of Brexit, Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said in a speech on Thursday.

EasyJet  has already said it expects to make a loss of around £275m for the first half of the year, citing Brexit as a factor in the weak demand for airline tickets. EasyJet's shares fell almost 8% in early trading following the release of its trading update, which had originally been due for release on Friday.

Factories in Britain stockpiled for Brexit   at an explosive rate last month, unlike anything seen before in a major rich economy, pushing manufacturing growth to an unexpected 13-month high, a survey showed on Monday.   The IHS Markit/CIPS UK Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 55.1 from 52.1 in February, confounding all forecasts in a Reuters poll that had pointed to a reading of 51.0.

The government’s flagship Settlement Scheme  has been hit by technical problems on the day of its launch.  EU nationals vented their frustration on social media, saying they had logged in to the app or visited the website only to be confronted with an error message, or for the page not to load at all.

Britain is wrecking its reputation for business stability with political divisions over Brexit and risks leaving the trading bloc with a hugely damaging “no-deal”, the UK head of German industrial giant Siemens  has said.    “Where the UK used to be beacon for stability, we are now becoming a laughing stock,” Juergen Maier said in open letter to lawmakers published by website Politico.

British economic growth slowed  in the last three months of 2018 as businesses reduced investment amid deepening fears about the Brexit process.  Output expanded just 0.2 per cent in the final quarter, down from 0.7 per cent in the previous three months, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.  

Falling business volumes, a sharp decline in jobs and the “national emergency” of Brexit have damaged confidence among bankers, a survey by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and PwC  suggests. The poll of 84 companies showed that 10 per cent of firms were more optimistic about the overall business situation compared with three months ago, while 53 per cent were less optimistic, which means optimism in the industry has now been either flat or falling for more than three years.


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