After getting elected as the prime minister of the United Kingdom with an overwhelming majority, Boris Johnson has assured that he would help to “unleash” the complete potential that Brexit would deliver to the country once he had fulfilled his poll promise to “get Brexit done”.
For British businesses, this means that they would need to adjust to a distant relationship with the European Union – which is the largest trading partner of the UK. Many of the business leaders of UK were also opposed to Brexit because of the potential of getting completely detached from the way of doing business and trading with the EU as they had got accustomed to for so many years. they
Multiple analysis since the July 2016 Brexit referendum has suggested that any new trade agreement with the EU is likely to be significantly different from the relations that UK businesses earlier enjoyed with the EU and such trade deal is also not likely to fill the gap that would be created because of Brexit in terms of its economic impact on the businesses.
Here is what most of the British businesses and firms are seeking to lobby for with Johnson and his new government.
The deputy director general of the CBI, Josh Hardie, welcomed that fact that it is now decidedly established that Brexit will happen under Johnson after three years of uncertainty.
“Just the fact that we have a government with a strong majority and a mandate actually provides the opportunity to bring a bit more certainty,” he said.
British companies want the Brexit trade deal to be as much as possible aligned to the EU, Hardie said. But the new government has promised an arms length arrangement and the UK will be outside of both the single market and customs union of the EU.
Brexit could also be an opportunity for UK companies to expand into other overseas markets such as the US, Canada and Australia, believes Mike Cherry, the national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses. However, what trade relations the UK develops with the EU is at the center of concerns.
Infrastructure and investment
It has been reported that the new government could pump in as much as £80bn into projects in key northern seats. But Jasmine Whitbread, chief executive of the lobby group London First, also want the government to also plan for some investments in the south of England.
“The Conservative manifesto recognised the role for vital infrastructure in supporting the economy, from Northern Powerhouse Rail to gigabit broadband. The Government now should go further and give clear backing to HS2 and Crossrail 2, as well as reaffirming support for airport expansion at London’s airports, putting in place the key building blocks needed to enable our regions to grow together.”
“The new government must also turn its attention to some of the longer standing challenges facing the UK, such as poor productivity and declining regional opportunities, to help secure a better long term future, while addressing the challenges and opportunities presented by new technology and climate change.
According to previously announced ideas of Johnson, he plans to sort migrant workers into three categories through a points-based immigration system.
This issue is specifically related to low-skilled or unskilled workers, for which Johnson plans to introduce sector-specific rules that would allow British companies to hire workers from outside outside of the UK for gaps created because of unavailability of UK workers.
However businesses have claimed that this policy is too vague and would disallow companies to make long term plans. They demand that the new government should come up with a more detailed plan if it wants to implement this points-based system for immigration of workers.
The new government should remember that services were “the lifeblood” of the UK economy but relied on “attracting, retaining and developing high quality talent”, said Catherine McGuinness, policy chair at the City of London Corporation.
Plans for reforming of business rates have also been talked about by Boris Johnson.
However, Cherry from the Federation of Small Businesses feels that such measures would take time to implement, and added that simply reviewing the rates could take as long as g=five years.
Currently tax was charged “before you even turn over your first pound, let alone make any profit”, Cherry said.
The business rates system was “fundamentally broken”, said Hardie from the CBI and urged “radical reform”.
(Adapted from BBC.com)