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Retail groups cautious on no-deal rejection

BRC and lobbyists urge MPs to find urgent Brexit solution fearing ‘mounting costs’


TWO leading retail lobby groups have cautiously welcomed the decision by MPs to reject a no-deal Brexit, but called on Westminster to urgently find a new solution.

MPs last night (Wednesday, March 13) voted by 312 to 308 to reject a no-deal Brexit scenario following their 391-242 vote the previous evening against Prime Minister Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement, the second time that has been defeated.
Tonight MPs will vote again, this time on whether the UK should seek permission from the EU to delay the implementation of Article 50 whereby the country leaves the European Union by extending the official departure date past March 29.
The BBC said that if they also reject this plan the UK could still crash out of the EU without a deal in 15 days’ time because it is the default position and the MPs’ decision last night is not actually binding – or there will have to be a third vote on the PM’s deal before the end of the month.
If the extension plan is voted through the EU have to agree, and have already said it cannot go past May 23 unless the UK takes part in the European Parliament elections planned for then while Mrs May has said it can only go to June 30, then there are seven options:
 Leaving the EU without a deal
 Further vote on PM’s suggested plan
 Renegotiation
 Referendum
 General Election
 Vote of no confidence
 No Brexit
Retail Gazette reported today that the British Retail Consortium have responded by warning that retail businesses faced “mounting costs with each passing day” there is no clarity on Brexit.
“We welcome MPs’ commitment to taking no deal off the table, however, it remains the default option if nothing else can be agreed,” BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said.
“Until a solution is found that can command the support of the House Of Commons, it is impossible to guarantee that a disastrous no deal is avoided.
“Furthermore, businesses face mounting costs with every passing day as they try to mitigate the disruptive effects of leaving without a deal.
“A no-deal Brexit is bad for businesses, bad for consumers and bad for the country. If MPs wish the British public to avoid higher prices and less choice on the shelves, they must consider any option which secures a transition period after the withdrawal date.”
Meanwhile, Retail Northern Ireland chief executive Glyn Roberts told Retail Gazette MPs urgently need to approve “a prolonged extension period” of at least four months to provide retailers “some breathing space” to plan for Brexit.
He added: “The UK Government’s proposals for a no-deal tariff regime made for frightening reading for retailers on both sides of the NI border.
“A no-deal exit would cause untold damage to cross-border shopping and to border town economies, and would doubtless lead to a considerable increase in illegal cross-border trade where an impractical honour-based system of duties had been proposed by the UK.”

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