Business Readiness Events Helping You Influence

Brexit Advisory Group

The Chamber’s dedicated Brexit Advisory Group informs our service delivery to best support East Midlands businesses in responding to the challenges and opportunities that Brexit will undoubtedly bring.

It also plays an important role in helping to refine and deliver our lobbying messages to Government and other stakeholders. Formed from the existing Chamber International Steering Forum, the group meets up to six times per year and brings together some of the region’s leading thinkers and business professionals – including Chamber strategic partners Morningside Pharmaceuticals and RSM.

In its earliest days, the Brexit Advisory Group was able to influence at senior levels when it hosted a business round-table event in Leicester with Lord Callanan, Minister of State at the Department for Exiting the European Union. More can be read about the visit here.

To gather data from businesses and other organisations about what steps they are taking to make the transition to a post-Brexit economy as seamless as possible, the Chamber's second Quarterly Economic Survey of 2018 features a raft of questions that will provide the required information that will, in turn, shape Chamber policy and steer the Brexit Advisory Group's activities for the period between now and the UK's departure from the EU. To read more about this, follow this link.

One of the first things the Brexit Advisory Group did was publish a checklist of what it feels is the absolute minimum businesses should be doing now to make the transition out of the EU as seamless as possible. To read more about the ckecklist and for links to it in either pdf or word format, follow this link.

Leading light of regional business blogs about Brexit

Dr Nik Kotecha OBE, Chair of the Chamber's Brexit Advisory Group, Board member at D2N2 and Chief Executive at Morningside Pharmaceuticals has published two blogs about Brexit.

In the first, The Brexit Effect – Is Your Business Ready? he says it is hard for businesses to plan ahead when there is still so much uncertainty about our post-Brexit relationship with the EU and how we will trade with the rest of the world.

But he says that regional business is robust, helped in no small part by the fact that the East Midlands is the manufacturing spine of the UK, has many smaller businesses and enjoys lower than national average unemployment.

He posits the notion that, to be stronger, the East and West Midlands must work more closely together through the Midlands engine, and many businesses have yet to start thinking seriously about what the wider implications of Brexit might be on their day-to-day activities.

That blog then lists three key questions businesses should be asking themselves today:
* Have you devoted time to considering the direct and indirect consequences of Brexit?
* Have you consulted your Board of Directors and executive teams about Brexit?
* Have you mapped out your supply chain and customer network so that you can plan for both a ‘deal’ and ‘no deal’ Brexit?

In the second blog, Preparing for Brexit – Top Tips for East Midlands Business, Dr Kotecha says there are four key areas that businesses need to consider for international trading in a post-Brexit economy – workforce and future skills, cross-border trade, taxation and, combined as a single item, currency, intellectual property and contract changes.

Under ‘workforce changes’ he considers the impact of the UK no longer being subject to EU freedom of movement regulations and what effect that might have on recruitment and future skills needs.

In a section on cross-border trade, he identifies three specific things business should be considering today - customs checks and delays, trade tariffs and rules of origin – and says businesses should be asking today what arrangements they might need to make with logistics providers and distribution networks.

He also suggests firms should be looking at the possibility of import and export tariffs and how they might impact costs, and at changes to rules of origin, paying particular attention to duty relief, customs relief and trusted trader schemes.

If the UK leaves the EU’s VAT area, businesses could face additional costs and Dr Kotecha says they should be looking now at their cash flow to cover any additional costs.

Under currency, intellectual property and contracts, Dr Kotecha warns that currency fluctuations are likely to return and may affect contracts and agreements drawn up under EU regulations could lose validity when the UK ceases to be a member of the EU.

Much of the information referenced in the blogs is based on the Chamber’s Business Advisory Group’s Brexit Checklist, which has been available on the Chamber’s website since the spring

Dr Kotecha said: “Leaving the European Union is one of the most challenging issues facing East Midlands companies for a generation and there is still so much uncertainty on what the terms of the final agreement, if there is one, will be.

“Businesses should take action now, rather than wait for Brexit to happen to them, to keep the impact of the transition as seamless as possible.”