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South West business leaders warn of 'damaging' impact of no-deal Brexit

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Written by: Hannah Baker | Posted 19 December 2018 10:55

South West business leaders warn of 'damaging' impact of no-deal Brexit

Growing numbers of South West business leaders are "seriously concerned" that Britain could leave the EU with a no-deal Brexit.

There are now only 100 days until the UK leaves the European Union on the 29 March, 2019, and leaders across the region are warning of the consequences of having no deal.

Shaun Loughlin, who owns Bristol-based sports company FreestyleXtreme, has set up an office in Romania already.

He said: "I’m hearing the phrase 'managed no-deal', which is an oxymoron.

"For our businesses and thousands of others across the country, the options available to us in the event of a no-deal are relocate if possible, downsize significantly if possible, or go bankrupt."

Anthony Poeton, chairman of Gloucester-based engineering company Poeton Industries, believes the country is only weeks away from the "most damaging impact on the economy for a generation".

Read more: Skills shortages preventing business growth in South West

Anthony Poeton

He said: "Worse still it will be self-inflicted. A no-deal Brexit will occur not because it is the majority view but because parliament will have failed to act collectively in the country’s interest.”

Poeton Industries employs over 250 people in the South West and Wales and Anthony believes a no deal could cost the economy tens of thousands of jobs.

He said: "It will seriously harm supply chains, create even more long-term uncertainty and damage some of the UK’s most successful industries. It will also have significant bearing on many people’s trust in our democracy.

"A no-deal Brexit seriously undermines our competitive position. It instantly creates new barriers, more uncertainty and diminishes our credibility, not just in Europe but around the world. Put simply some customers will go elsewhere and jobs will be lost.”

Anthony is now calling on politicians to back the deal that Theresa May has negotiated.

He added: "Anything else will be a gross dereliction of collective responsibility; the consequences of which are too dire to contemplate.”

On Tuesday the government sent letters to 140,000 UK businesses urging them to start putting contingency plans in place.

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