British Businesses Try to Keep Calm as Brexit Deadline Looms

Parliament’s vote on British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal is set for the week starting Jan. 14, with the debate kicking off in parliament on Jan. 9.

This is the vote that May postponed in early December — the one she knew she would lose — for a deal that neither Remainers nor Brexiteers, Conservatives nor Labour likes. With the nature of the post-Brexit border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland still a touchy subject, and the EU’s refusal to negotiate further, it’s unclear whether May’s latest, tweaked proposal will pass.

If it doesn’t, Parliament will have to decide whether to push for a last-minute alternative deal, or allow the U.K. to crash out of the EU in March, which would have a drastic short-term impact on imports, exports, Britons’ ability to travel abroad and a host of other regulations.

There could also be a second referendum, a no-confidence vote in the government – and a new election that could usher in Labour as Britain’s new leaders. There is also talk of a “managed no-deal,” which would temporarily soften the blow of a hard exit, but it’s unclear how long a period of emergency measures agreed by the U.K. and EU could last.

The big banks and consultancies have taken a variety of scenarios into account, and the overall result is grim. Capital Economics offered the best outlook, with a growth forecast of 2.2 percent, and inflation of 2 percent if a version of May’s deal passes in January. The worst outlook is from Fathom: The consultancy is looking at 0.5 percent growth and 2.1 percent inflation. It cited a drop in household spending and companies deciding to freeze investment.

This story was reported by WWD and originally appeared on WWD.com. To read the full story, please go to WWD.com.

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