Brexit uncertainty continues to cause confusion for West Yorkshire businesses

Leeds City Centre
Leeds City Centre

A meeting of senior politicians and businesspeople in West Yorkshire has claimed that continued uncertainty around Brexit is stopping businesses planning for the future.

The West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) business innovation and growth panel met this afternoon to discuss how the region is planning for economic impacts of Brexit.

But WYCA’s head of policy, Alan Reiss, told the meeting that not knowing what will happen regarding future trade deals has hamstrung businesses in their preparations for Britain’s departure from the European Union, adding the authority will also need to prepare for possible “economic shocks”.

He said: “Not knowing what is going to happen is the major concern for business.

“We want to focus on resilience and contingency planning. We have also been doing survey work with businesses.

“At the end of December, it was a bit of a mixed picture. Only 60 per cent of businesses devoted time to considering how Brexit would affect their business.

“We are thinking about what additional support businesses might need in the event of some sort of economic shock.”

He added that survey figures for early 2019 are yet to be made available.

Board member and logistics expert Mike Danby MBE said it should come as no surprise that businesses have not been preparing adequately, as they do not know what the terms of Brexit will be.

He added: “It’s difficult to invest when you don’t know what is going to happen.

“The numbers of businesses doing something [about Brexit] is pretty astounding when you don’t know what is going to happen.”

The Prime Minister has confirmed she will put her final withdrawal agreement to a meaningful vote in Parliament by March 12.

Should this fail, MPs vote on whether to agree to a no-deal Brexit the following day.

Should this vote also fail, MPs will vote on whether to request an extension to the two-year negotiating period, due to run out on March 29.