The implications of Brexit on small business

Posted on 16th March 2016 at 4:10pm by Carl Reader in Random Musings

Much has been said in the press about the implications of Brexit. There's scaremongering, big numbers, and and a general climate of fear. To me, this all seems disconnected to the reality that most small businesses face day to day. My warning in advance is that this post will veer off towards a discussion about the referendum process, but the reason why will become apparent within my analysis of the implications.

So what are the implications?

Simply put, we don't know!

I can however make some intelligent guesses about what could be affected by Brexit.

Trade tariffs

Much is spoken about the additional burden on business dealing with the EU. I'm sure we will see claims and counter claims over the next few months. The reality is that most small businesses won't be massively affected by this - it certainly doesn't stop businesses dealing with the US, Australia etc. The impact that could arise is the cost to large businesses, and the knock on effect to the small businesses that supply to them. An unknown.

Employment of EU Nationals

The removal of the free movement of individuals may hamper employment of the right levels of staff by UK companies. On the flip side, a correctly implemented visa scheme should ensure that immigration is open for those who can add to society - i.e., where the skills are needed. Again. An unknown.

Impact on the economy

Yet again. An unknown.

There's a common theme here...!

None of us know the implications of Brexit. Therefore, and as is the case with most referendums, unless there is a hugely compelling case, most will stick with the status quo. Better the devil you know...

This leads me on to thinking about my issue with referendums. Whilst the PM can highlight the worst case scenario (as he has), he also has a responsibility to make the best of the situation should Brexit happen. For us to have as fair an opportunity to accurately decide whether to stay or go, his leadership needs to be challenged - Boris needs to step up to the plate now. Or perhaps 6 months ago.

The result would have been a manifesto from each side, detailing what they would do upon their chosen side. We know manifesto claims can be broken and have been broken. At least with a general election a just a few years away, this would be electoral suicide. It also means that the strategy for dealing with challenges of staying, or going, can be put forwards, and our vote is not a vote of certainty vs uncertainty; it's a vote of option 1 vs option 2.

What way am I swinging?

At the moment - an unknown!

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