12:08 GMT04 April 2020
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    Back in late May 2019, the CBI also warned against a no-deal Brexit, with the company’s director arguing that the possibility is so unserious that it should not be seen as an option “that is not even considered.”

    Both the UK and the EU are not sufficiently prepared for a no-deal Brexit, according to the pro-business and lobbying group, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

    In a report by the CBI, titled ‘What Comes Next? The Business Analysis Of No Deal Preparations,’ around 50 trade associations and thousands of companies from across the gamut of UK industry were allegedly consulted and delivered 200 recommendations, with one resounding core message: that a no-deal departure could be disastrous for both London and Brussels due to the lack of serious preparation on both sides.

    While the group says that many of the businesses it spoke with have spent billions of pounds on fortifying themselves in preparation for a no-deal outcome, it adds that they remain in a state of uncertainty, plagued by concerns over costs and a lack of clear guidance from the government.

    “Businesses are desperate to move beyond Brexit. They have huge belief in the UK and getting a deal will open many doors that have been closed by uncertainty. It cannot be beyond the wit of the continent's greatest negotiators to find a way through and agree a deal,” the report’s authors argue.

    "But until this becomes a reality, all must prepare to leave without one,” they add.

    Furthermore, the report says that 24 out of the major 27 areas of the UK economy would be hampered by disruption in the event of a no-deal outcome: "While the UK's preparations to date are welcome, the unprecedented nature of Brexit means some aspects cannot be mitigated.” According to the report, of those to be most profoundly affected, food suppliers are likely to be hardest hit.

    The report,  also adds that, “larger companies, particularly those in regulated areas such as financial services, have well-thought-through contingency plans in place, though smaller firms are less well prepared.”

    In some of its firmest recommendations, the group calls upon London to release new and updated recommendations for businesses on how to prepare for a no-deal scenario by the middle of August. It also says that the government should launch a campaign aimed at UK businesses with “simple and clear advice” for how to prepare, which, CBI says, would need to be set up by the latest of the start of September — a very tall order for a government in crisis.

    Yet, the panicked advice is not only aimed at the UK: the CBI also calls upon the EU to initiate the process of setting up measures to protect EU-based business that could end up battered and bruised as a consequence of a no-deal Brexit. Interestingly, the report also says that Brussels “lags behind the UK in seeking to prevent the worst effects of a no-deal scenario.”

    The CBI’s chief of EU negotiations, Nicole Sykes, has sent out a series of doom-laden Tweets which ultimately argue that even with a strong level of preparedness, a no-deal Brexit would still cause serious harm to all involved.

    ​A UK government spokesperson has been widely quoted as saying that, “while we have done more to prepare than this report implies, since the new Prime Minister was appointed the Government has stepped up the pace of planning for no-deal.”

    Those hoping that the new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, would swiftly make his way to Brussels to untangle the Brexit impasse were likely to have had their hopes dashed over the weekend as it was revealed that he had no plans to visit any European capital city for discussions. Moreover, on Monday July 29, UK Foreign Minister Dominic Raab suggested that Mr Johnson will not be reopening Brexit talks with the EU until and unless it agrees to scrap the contentious Irish backstop.

    Mr Raab also suggested that the EU was to blame for the UK having to prepare for a no-deal Brexit: “We’ve had the series of fairly stubborn positions stalked out by the EU… But if they stick to that line - I think the thing that has changed is that they’re not wiling to move at all, and they have reiterated that - then we must be prepared to give the country the finality it needs by preparing both businesses, but also people more broadly, [for a no deal Brexit],” Mr Raab told the BBC’s Today programme.

    European Union, Brussels, London, UK Government, Dominic Raab, Boris Johnson, no-deal Brexit, Brexit
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