BUSINESSES in the North would “rise to the challenge” of a no-deal Brexit, Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry has said.
Despite saying he has confidence that a free trade deal with the European Union will go ahead, Mr Berry told the Yorkshire Post that he “believed” in businesses in the North and their capacity to cope should World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules be applied to British trade should no deal be reached come next March.
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His comments come as papers outlining the Government’s plan for a no-deal Brexit are due to be published tomorrow.
Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab is due to give a speech to coincide with the release of the first of a raft of technical notices outlining what businesses and citizens need to do in the event the UK leaves the EU in March without a transition deal.
He is expected to say that the Government has a duty to “plan for every eventuality”, and that the notices provide a “sensible, measured, and proportionate approach to minimising the impact of no deal on British firms, citizens, charities and public bodies”.
Speaking to the Yorkshire Post this week while touring northern business, Mr Berry said 52 per cent of British trade already takes place under WTO rules.
“I am confident that we will get a good free trade deal with the European Union,” he said. “If we end up without a deal and on WTO rules, I believe in the businesses in the North and while it would be a challenge, I think they would rise to that challenge.
“The thing that people have said to me all over the North on this on this tour, is that they want the Government to get on and deliver Brexit.
“And people who talk about having a second referendum or staying in the customs union - and I see them every single week when I go to work in London - what they are really talking about is stopping Brexit, and I think that would be a betrayal of the people of the North, who, not in every area, but predominantly, voted to leave.”