brexit special continued .....

Extra admin costs

Xtrac believed the main post-Brexit threats were likely to arise from additional administrative costs, bureaucracy and the wider impact on the economy from leaving the EU and how that filtered through to businesses. BDB Pitmans pointed to the added burden on businesses of understanding not only the UK’s and EU’s new rules, but also the regulations relevant in individual EU member states.

New immigration rules

If you plan to recruit from abroad, be aware of the new immigration rules, advised Roc Search. “The new points-based system will treat EU/non- EU citizens equally. This means anyone (except Irish citizens) coming to work in the UK from January 1 2021 will need to apply for permission in advance, and will be assessed according to specific requirements,” Dent explained.

These candidates will need a job offer from a Home Office-licensed sponsor. “This means if you intend to recruit overseas candidates, your company must apply to become a licensed sponsor. You’ll have to prove your business is eligible, pay an application fee and wait up to eight weeks for the application to be assessed – all of which will need to be factored into your hiring plans,” continued Dent.

VAT confusion

BDO highlighted media reports of large UK retailers incurring significant brand damage when customers have been unable to take delivery of goods without paying additional VAT, and often, an administration fee.

Data privacy

According to BDB Pitmans, data handling could be another challenge in the post-Brexit world. Nelson said: “The EU is still to make a unilateral decision on the adequacy of the UK’s data handling in order to secure flows of digital information between the UK and EU. While that is expected, it is also vital.”

Business as normal?

Looking at the broad sweep of Brexit, the question of what constitutes ‘business as usual’ or the ‘new normal’ is a moot point.

For Nelson, aside from the technical challenge of so much regulatory change is the fact that a number of benefits the UK enjoyed as an EU member state have now gone. He wondered what normal would look like without free movement of people between the UK and EU; membership of the European Single Market that provides freedom of goods and services; and membership of the Customs Union, which removes customs and many other border checks.

“The new arrangements ameliorate some of the worst consequences of this – imposition and tariffs and quotas in respect of goods – but they don’t amount to ‘business as usual’,” he said.

Lane thought there would eventually be a ‘new normal’ for most businesses. He said: “Although


some businesses may take a while to adapt to the UK leaving the EU there may, over time, be a move to a ‘new normal’ whereby increased access to non- EU markets becomes an opportunity that they are able to exploit to their advantage.”

Taking a broader outlook

There are certainly going to be opportunities for the region’s businesses as we head towards prime minister Boris Johnson’s much-heralded “sunlit uplands” after Brexit and with the coronavirus pandemic under control. BDB Pitmans and HSBC believe many of these opportunities will probably lie beyond the EU’s borders.

Nelson is looking to the new trade and economic partnership agreements that the UK is negotiating with the rest of the world. “While most of these simply ‘roll over’ the benefits the UK had as an EU member state, some – notably that with Japan – go further, with improved access for financial services, certain kinds of food and drink, and the creative industries,” he said.

The Japan trade deal also contains a strong commitment from the country to support the UK joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which will open up further markets. “Domestically, I’d suggest that businesses may find the UK Government more willing to take proactive steps to subsidise or encourage business growth, now that it is no longer subject to the EU state aid rules,” Nelson added, albeit with a word of caution: “The Brexit trade deal also contains provisions preventing ‘distortive’ subsidies. The Government’s proposals for new freeports are a good example of this.”

Priorities in other global markets are likely to focus across the Atlantic, thought Smith. “The UK Government will continue its work to negotiate free trade agreements with markets outside the EU that are more advantageous than they were when the UK was an EU member, such as the ongoing discussion between the UK and the US, which could provide an economic boost in the future.”

To sum up, the advice from this group of Brexit- watchers is that a mix of pragmatism, preparedness and adaptability will be key for business success from here on.

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39