Following the news that MPs have agreed to a dramatic escalation of preparations for a no-deal Brexit, Britain’s leading business organisations have issued a stark warning that the country is not ready for such an outcome.
John Perry, managing director at SCALA, a leading provider of management services for the supply chain and logistics sector, commented:
“Until recently, a no-deal Brexit was seen as such a remote possibility that many businesses still don’t have contingency plans in place. However, whether a deal is agreed or not, there a strong possibility that Brexit will cause months of severe disruption to UK/EU cross-border movements that businesses should be preparing themselves for.
“We’ve heard reports in recent weeks of companies that have begun stockpiling goods and raw materials, in an effort to minimise the impact of this possible disruption. While this will certainly buy them some time, it is only a short-term solution.
“In addition to stockpiling, businesses should be urgently reviewing their supply chains to identify any major risk areas and implement risk-reduction strategies. Affected organisations should also consider applying to become an Authorised Economic Operator, as it’s widely agreed that achieving AEO status is likely to be one of the most effective mitigating factors in any Brexit situation.
“If, however, Article 50 is revoked, as many are hoping it will be, this will still have been an extremely valuable exercise. After so many years of frictionless trade, it’s clear that many of us have been delaying on these big decisions. If nothing else, the past two years have proven how precarious our situation really is. Brexit should therefore act as the catalyst businesses need to re-optimise their supply chains, ensuring they are as agile as possible and prepared for any future unforeseen events.”
The government also laid out measures covering migration, and future requirements for skilled workforce. Sally Gilson, Head of Skills Campaigns at FTA, statement on the White Paper on Immigration:
“Today's White Paper on immigration after Brexit ignores the very real needs and concerns of the logistics industry, which supports every facet of the UK economy.”
“With skills shortages already being experienced among many logistics careers, including HGV drivers (currently 52,000 short), warehouse workers and forklift operators. The loss of almost a quarter of a million European workers, currently employed in these logistics roles in the UK are no longer deemed "skilled" by the government could be catastrophic. Especially for a sector which relies on these people and their particular knowledge and abilities to keep shelves stocked, factories supplied and businesses able to access the materials they need.”
“In order to attract and retain new workers into the industry which keeps Britain trading, FTA is urging government to redirect unused apprenticeship levy funding, which cannot be accessed due to a lack of relevant apprenticeship standards, into meaningful training for those wishing to enter the sector but ineligible for traditional apprenticeship funding. Without this reallocation of funds, there will be insufficient staff to replace the European workers on which logistics depends.”