The Brexit vote is coming, are you decided?
The former Manchester Free Trade Hall has witnessed some spectacular moments; from Benjamin Disraeli’s – One Nation speech and Winston Churchill’s defence of Britain’s policy of free trade; all the way to the infamous ‘Judas!’ shout at a Bob Dylan concert and has even played host to punk rock band, The Sex Pistols.
But this week, it was the location for another discussion on Brexit. Whilst the speeches didn’t rival those of Disraeli and Churchill, they did prove entertaining with heckles mostly curtailed!
Reference to the Sex Pistols did however create the headline for the day, with Labour’s shadow home secretary, Andy Burnham MP, providing a fantastic quote for the business audience.
He said, “I was reminded of their most famous album, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols, well it’s probably a good motto for this campaign at the moment, isn’t it? There’s a lot of it being spoken and a lot of it on both sides and people are confused.”
Conservative MP, Graham Brady was later prodded with the same subject when asked by the debate chairman “What bollocks has Boris been talking then?” to which Burnham quickly interjected “How long have you got?”
Mr Brady went on to raise issue with the £350 million per week, which his own camp claims is the UK’s cost to be part of the EU. Brady said “I would have no hesitation, I wouldn’t quite call it bollocks but I will say it wouldn’t have been my judgement to use the £350 million per week figure.”
This was all really interesting, but the main issue many had going into this debate was a lack of clarity on what will happen to Britain, post 23 June. The decision is an understandably difficult one when you consider that the information just isn’t available, and this was something both politicians could agree on. Either way it really will be a jump into the unknown. And when you consider that this vote could be what determines what we are as a nation for the next century, we need more facts…
So where does this leave SMEs?
Surprisingly, it seems SMEs in Greater Manchester have in the most part formed firm decisions. Recent figures from the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce suggest that 54% are in the Remain camp whilst 38% are in the Leave camp, with the rest undecided.
Due to the lack of clarity and information available, the ‘confused group’ does appear unexpectedly smaller.
Christian Spence of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce spoke very well alongside the politicians, appearing as the voice of reason for the business world. He called on both sides to provide clearer details, stating that we have “No definition as to what will happen post the vote” and went on to highlight that “A remain vote is not a status quo, we would see the implementation of the reforms that (David) Cameron negotiated, greater fiscal review and border control change”.
Mr Spence also discussed both the contentious £350 million per week figure quoted by the Leave camp, referencing the rebate we currently receive from the EU, alongside the inward financial flows from European Investment into Britain. He also posed a very poignant question “Is Whitehall competent enough to redistribute the money effectively?”
SMEs may see benefits and deficits on either side of the vote, it is very hard to discuss particular outcomes on a generic SME level, when not considering a particular industry or even region.
SMEs need to think about the impact the change, or lack of will have on their business:
- Skilled Staff – some skilled individuals may not be able to work for you, but some others may return from the European states, which will have the larger impact on your business?
- Import and Export – Britain is currently part of a single European market, which also opens up trade deals, such as those in discussion (EU-US, transatlantic deal). New contracts may need to be negotiated if your business wants to continue trading in the EU.
- Red Tape – leaving the EU may reduce red tape in Britain, aiding many SMEs greatly; but you may still need to comply with European legislation if you intend to trade with any EU state.
- Available Finance – it is expected that a number of funding sources may dry-up to British companies in the event of an exit. European banks may choose to refocus on mainland Europe and EU grants would no longer be available.
Whilst the team at Ashley Business Finance can’t make the decision for you or even assistance you with negotiating the minefield of red tape (in or out of the EU); they are able to help with available finance.
Speaking to the Business Loans Team, you will begin to understanding what makes them tick. They really do want to provide finance to the businesses that come to them. If you don’t meet the criteria for one product, they will look at what else they can do for you.
The best news for SMEs; Ashley Business Finance are there to support you, Brexit or not. So have a think about how you can take advantage of the coming months and get in touch…