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New poll says Business already seeing negative impact of Brexit

And what’s most important to business in Brexit negotiations? Movement & access to skilled labour. Is all this upheaval worth it for something that isn’t actually good for us?


58% of business leaders polled said that they had already seen a negative impact from Brexit since the referendum. Only 11% said they had seen a positive impact with 31% seeing no difference and 1% having no opinion.

The same poll also revealed that business expected the situation to get worse in a year’s time with 65% saying they thought there would be a negative impact and 18% saying there would be no difference. They were only a little bit more hopeful that things would improve in 5 years time with 45% still thinking there would be a negative impact.

Movement and access of skilled labour most important

Business leaders were also asked about what was most important to them for Brexit negotiations. Surprisingly, it wasn’t trade and the single market (which came a close second). Topping the list for business leaders is “movement and access to skilled labour.” 86% also said that “keeping it easy to recruit EU staff” is important for them to be successful post-Brexit.

The results confirm what businesses have said previously that having an easy and flexible migration system is valuable to them. Airbus’ chief operating officer said that losing free movement risked their long-term competitiveness. The feeling isn’t confined to skilled labour either. The head of the British Hospitality Association said that closing migration flows would be “catastrophic” for the hospitality sector and warned that “many businesses in the sector will fail” without migrant workers. Even lead Brexiteer Andrea Leadsom has admitted the importance of EU migrant labour to the agricultural industry.

The results are from Ipsos Mori’s annual Captains of Industry study. You can see more from the results in the slide show below or at ipsos-mori.com.

So is “taking back control” worth it?

During the referendum, Brexiteers shouted that this was all about “taking back control.” Taking back control of immigration and taking back control of our laws. On the latter, the government’s own white paper on Brexit said that “Parliament has remained sovereign throughout our membership of the EU.” It just didn’t “feel” like it sometimes.

As for the former, it’s looking increasingly like we are setting ourselves up for a whole lot of upheaval and endangering our economy for immigration control but not to actually cut it. As suggested by the poll, businesses are saying that migration is important to their success.

In the Guardian, Tory MP Stephen Crabb says that “there is nothing on the horizon to suggest that achieving any significant reduction is achievable or even desirable.”

Perhaps the reason that are no proposals on immigration in the government’s white paper is because they know this. The Independent has a report on an interview with trade minister Lord Price in German newspaper, Die Welt. In it, he admits that “for many parts of its economy, the UK needs free movement of people.”

He adds that government want to have control over this but don’t know how it’ll work. Maybe that’s because what we have now already works. And that discontent over it is due to anti-immigrant sentiment fuelled by certain parts of the media and some politicians.

There is also the fact that as Brits, we will be losing our right to live, work and study in 27 other countries.

MPs debate Article 50 bill’s amendments

The poll’s findings come as we enter the next stage of the Article 50 bill. Last week, MPs voted in favour of the bill at its second reading. Today marks the first of three days of debate over the many, many amendments proposed on the bill. Parliament will vote again on the bill alongside any amendments on Wednesday.

We can only hope that MPs consider carefully the reality of Brexit and use this opportunity to fight for a better future. However, with the “official opposition” party’s line on this, we’re not hopeful.


Image: © Ipsos Mori – Captains of Industry 2016
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