Brexit: Has business found its voice?

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The UK debate around Brexit is shifting in light of new data showing the consequences of leaving the EU. In a new four-part series, the FT examines the impact on Britain’s economy, trade, business and politics.

Simon French, chief economist at Panmure Gordon, sees a shift in the way Brexit is being discussed after unconfirmed — and since denied — reports suggested that the government could consider a Swiss-style trade deal with the EU. French said the fact that the issue was raised at all was sparking conversation among investors.

“Recently domestic investors have asked what will generate reappraisal” of the UK as a place to invest, he said. “Is it an innovative growth plan? Is it supply side reforms? Or is it the UK political class not openly pretending black is white? “I’d argue the latter is most important in the short term. UK ministers don’t look like serious people if they are pretending the impact [of Brexit] doesn’t exist,” he added. Businesses are already trying to engage with officials over future policy. Last week, an array of British business, legal, worker and environmental groups sent a letter to Shapps arguing that the retained EU law bill, which seeks to remove EU-derived laws from the statute book by the end of the year, “will prove costly and bureaucratic and would undermine the certainty and stability workers and businesses need if the economy is to prosper”.

Authors: Daniel Thomas and Peter Foster (in London) and Peter Campbell (in Halewood) The Financial Times

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Simon French

Managing Director, Head of Research

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