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Are you prepared for Brexit?

Now that Brexit is getting real, it is vital for you to stay informed about what happens next and how it affects your business.

Below you are able to download our FBCMB regional tube maps, where you can find your sector line and see the issues that will affect you on each stop. You will travel through zones covering international standards, EU rules, opportunities, people and trade. On each step of this journey you will need advice and our team are on hand to provide it.

   

 

Your big question is how you will do business in the short term in the event of no deal, in the medium term during any transitional period between Brexit and the entry into force of a new UK-EU trade agreement, and in the long term under the new trade agreement?

It is already clear, however, that you or those you supply are not going to enjoy the same access to the EU's Single Market under a trade agreement as you do while the UK is a member of the EU.

The main threat you face is uncertainty about the outcome. Nonetheless, you need to assess the impact of a worst-case-scenario Brexit now, in other words without any withdrawal agreement in place, and have in place contingency plans which are flexible enough to respond to developments in the negotiations.

Download our briefings if you are in:

Agriculture

Manufacturing

Automative and Aviation

Leisure and Hospitality

Our team can help you with all that you need in four steps:

  1. Information - You need to have procedures in place to ensure you are well-informed about the Brexit process. Relying on press reports won’t be enough. Understanding and forecasting the likely impacts are fundamental to your Brexit strategy to gaining early competitive advantage. FBC Manby Bowdler will give you with a tailored service which monitors progress, analyses published documents, and identifies the impacts for your business the moment they become clear.
  2. Preparation - Prepare for Brexit with and without a deal. To do so, businesses should carry out a Brexit legal impact assessment followed by a Brexit commercial impact assessment. These will form the baseline of any contingency measures. To be Brexitproof, FBC Manby Bowdler’s online survey can help you legally and commercially. Sign up here.
  3. Action - Based on this survey, you should decide what contingency plans you need and when they should be activated. You might be marginally or massively impacted. Contingency measures could include setting up alternative supply chains, identifying new customer markets, or re-skilling employees. FBC Manby Bowdler has been at the forefront of advising clients on the commercial implications of Brexit. We have the experience to help you devise and implement contingency measures for your business, and stress-test them against a range of Brexit scenarios, whatever industry you operate in.
  4. Influencing - The best way to avoid a Brexit that damages your business is to influence the outcome yourself. Brexit provides an opportunity to do that, which businesses should exploit more. FBC Manby Bowdler has the benefit of advisers in Brussels and London. We can devise and implement policy advocacy strategies to influence the course of further Brexit negotiations, the negotiations on a new trade agreement and build long-term regulatory compliance strategies, including relationship-building with key influencers and government authorities.

Our team of experienced sector specialists has examined the potential impact of the Brexit in your sector. Peter Wilding, our Brexit Director, is able to provide in-depth analysis on the political, policy and legal implications of Brexit, and translate what they mean for manufacturing, agricultural and hospitality clients. He has an expert understanding of how each piece of the jigsaw of EU policy and legislation fits together, an insider’s knowledge of the political and administrative processes of the negotiations, and considerable experience of how UK legislation is enacted. Few other lawyers have a background so suited to giving Brexit advice.

 

BREXIT: COUNTDOWN TO THE CRUNCH

- By FBC Manby Bowdler’s Peter Wilding, Corporate Solicitor and Brexit Adviser 

So what’s going to happen?

Brexit reaches its Parliamentary endgame on Tuesday with the vote on the Prime Minister’s painstakingly crafted deal. If successful, its main effect is to kick the business uncertainty can down the road until New Year’s Eve 2020 by keeping the single market open. Nothing commercially will change. Companies up and down the land would breathe a sigh of relief.

But literally no-one in Parliament believes it will pass. If it fails by fewer than 100 votes, Theresa May might consider the defeat a victory, challenge Parliamentary convention and bring it back to Parliament at a later date.   Any worse and the deal will have more nails in it than Frankenstein’s coffin. It will be deader than dead. Cue a constitutional crisis.

Now begins a game of three bluffs, three solutions and three outcomes.

Bluff one: Will the EU cave to support the deal? No. What Theresa May wants is for the EU to give a legal guarantee that the devilish Northern Ireland backstop can either end on a certain date or be terminated by the UK government alone. The EU has made it clear that the deal agreed last month is now fixed in stone and cannot be changed. If they did, EU unity would split. Any assurances they may give would be non-binding and unlikely to persuade MPs to back the deal.

Bluff two: Will Labour cave and support May’s Brexit? No. Labour wants the UK to stay permanently in the EU customs union. This is only temporary in the Withdrawal Agreement. But as they also want to destroy the Government and force a general election via a no confidence vote there is no chance the opposition will support the deal. If they did, Labour would split.

Bluff three: Will Conservative Brexiters cave? No. Many Conservatives baulk at the prospect of facing years of accepting EU rules with no say over them.  117 of them voted to depose their party leader last month and over 100 have publicly condemned the deal. About 50 actively want no-deal and 50 others hate the prospective vassalage to the EU. All fear for their party and media reputations should they back down. If they did, the Conservatives would split.

So what next if bluffs one, two and three are called?

Solution one: Will the Government cave and go for no deal? Defeat will force Theresa May to make a choice she has framed as either no deal or no Brexit and has so far avoided. She can sit tight, wind the clock down and allow the UK to fall out of the EU on March 29th by automatic operation of law. This would win over half her party, more of her Tory base but will doubtless ultimately force 20 or more of her MPs to abandon the whip and into no-confidence territory potentially forcing a general election.

It won’t work.

Solution two: Will the Government cave and try to amend the deal? May cannot re-present the deal as it is because once it is defeated convention dictates that the same question cannot be put in the same session. So she may try to buy more time, beg Brussels for token changes and get the Commons to vote on her “lipstick on a pig” deal at the last moment hoping that MPs ultimately fold. It won’t be pretty but it might work.

Solution three: Will the Government cave and try for a compromise? She could – given that she now has only three Commons days to come up with Plan B – say that the (non-binding) political declaration will now offer only a Norway-style deal. This compromise could unite Labour and Conservative moderates around a plan which would have the UK staying in the single market and in the customs union permanently.  But, crucially, it abandons all her, and, importantly, Jeremy Corbyn’s red lines on bringing free movement of people to an end. Both Conservatives and Labour could split. But if Corbyn gives his party a free vote, Labour could stay united and the Tories would split. It might work. 

If all else fails, will Parliament find a way to stop no deal as catastrophic, the compromise as a worthless Brexit in name only or the new deal as cosmetic? If May is still in power and the government still alive by this stage, then somehow it will be forced to either revoke or extend article 50 and start again. Given that both require the government to do so only if there is a general election or a referendum and not just to buy time, number 10 would by then be a burning building with no exits. 

So we would then have a peacetime crisis with three outcomes:

Outcome One: If this is our 1846 Corn Laws or 1886 Irish Home Rule crisis we will see a seismic political earthquake which will destroy one or both main political parties.

Outcome Two: If this is our 1931 Gold Standard crisis we will see a national government formed.

Outcome Three: If this is our 1903 tariff reform or 1938 appeasement crisis we will see the government stumble through to eventual defeat but with their policy passed but tested to destruction.

Hold on to your hats. Business can only watch and prepare. We, at FBC Manby Bowdler, will be there so that whatever happens as we enter this historic tunnel, you will be there on the other side.




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