The recent Brexit petitioning of the Government by five of Britain’s biggest business lobby groups could not be more timely. In fact, from the Packaging Federation perspective such a ‘hurry up’ is very much overdue.
Lest it be forgotten – Brexit or no-Brexit, business drives the economy and creates wealth. Simple as that. The post-Brexit political saga – long-drawn out, tedious and inconclusive – has thus far been conducted in denial of this truth. Instead, the matter has been the property, or plaything, of politicians, whose status and competence evidently diminishes with every passing year. It is clear, for example, that such fruitless negotiations and activities to date (over fifteen months now) would not sustain a week in the world of commerce or industry.
It is obvious that business has not been listened to thus far in the Brexit piece. It is now time to address that, and to have business continue to raise its voice until it is heard clearly.
Firstly, from a business perspective, let us not waste time and resources preparing for a so-called ‘no deal’. A no deal would be a straightforward disaster for UK business.
Take the simple fact of labour in our marketplace: The UK economy depends upon 2.5 million non-UK citizens to keep the wheels of our industries turning – right across the board; from farm labourers in Lincolnshire to managers, scientists and skilled technicans from Milan, Munich and Madrid. To attempt to suddenly amputate the flow of this human capital is not just madness, it will deliver a nonsensical and self-inflicted blow to our standards of living.
If we are to have any kind of Brexit, the better course of action by far is to work, judo style, with the energy of our so-called ‘opponents’ so that we both achieve the softest of landings for us both.
Business must continue to speak up and to articulate its needs and fears.
For this reason I urge all our members and constituents to raise the level of communications with our legislators and politicians, helping minimise commercial damage and disruption in the months ahead.