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introduction VIEWPOINT


WELCOMING YOU TO insightMAGAZINE


Planning ahead for the best start to a new year


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January is a month that tends to pass very, very slowly for many of us. It’s a typically miserable month where the joys of Christmas seem like a distant memory – a depressing thought if ever there was one, but only slightly less depressing perhaps than the Brexit saga. While progress against the Government’s original


projected timeline has been painfully slow, the weeks and months since the referendum seem to have passed by in an instant, and there are now less than 100 days until the UK leaves the EU. Well, they say that time flies when you’re having fun,


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FRONT COVER West of England Initiative celebrates anniversary. See page 10. Photo Credit: Jennifer Rollason Photography


but I can assure you the next few months will be a torrid time as far as our region’s businesses are concerned. When they should be spending their precious time investing, innovating or finding new markets, businesses will be required to commit significant resources toward preparing for Brexit. But what scenarios should you be preparing for? At the time of writing it is still unknown whether or not Theresa May’s deal will pass through


Parliament before Britain’s withdrawal from the EU on 29 March. As it stands, Mrs May will need to secure some significant concessions from the EU between now and the meaningful vote, though this appears unlikely. The other option on the table for Mrs May is to run down the clock in the hope that MPs will panic and rush through the deal in its current state down the line, but we can expect an even rockier few months ahead for the UK economy if that is the case. Expect more uncertainty too if the European Union agrees to extend Article 50 for whatever


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reason before 29 March. This is a not unforeseeable outcome that could add another 12 months onto what will have already been a two-year ordeal by that point! There’s an outside chance of a second referendum, a general election or Government deciding to pull the plug on Brexit completely, but don’t hold your breath. With all these scenarios potentially in the offing over the next few months, businesses might


be tempted to stick their heads in the sand and see what happens after April, as the task of preparing for every eventuality is just too daunting to comprehend. To that I would say this: every business is able to make preparations to ensure a baseline


level of business continuity and it’s never too late to start thinking ahead. Think about your customers, your supply chain and your workforce and try to mitigate risks wherever it is possible to do so. There is no one size fits all approach to preparing for Brexit, but please don’t panic. Put a realistic plan in place today that enables you to keep on trading regardless, and you’ll be able to approach 2019 with optimism. Sign up to our free and impartial Trading Through Brexit programme for the latest advice and guidance on how to plan for Brexit.


For more information, please visit: www.tradingthroughbrexit.co.uk


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Business West Insight is produced on behalf of Business West by Kemps Publishing Ltd and is distributed without charge throughout the South West of England. The publisher is committed to achieving the highest quality standards. However, views expressed in the magazine are independent and while every care has been taken to ensure that the information it contains is accurate, the publisher cannot accept any responsibility for any omission or inaccuracies that might arise. This publication (or any part thereof) may not be reproduced, transmitted or stored in print or electronic format without the prior written permission of Kemps Publishing Ltd.


JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2019 insight 3


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