British businesses must get on with getting ready for Brexit, according to Sajid Javid, the UK chancellor.
The man in charge of the UK’s purse strings also warned that the Treasury won’t be lending any specific not lend support to manufacturers that favour EU rules as the sector had had three years to prepare for Britain’s transition.
Which is a bit of a U-turn from the government’s pre-election position, when the Conservative’s pledged to help businesses through the process.
Are UK businesses being hung out to dry over Brexit?
Back in December, during the run up to the general election, Boris Johnson visited the Nissan car plant in Sunderland to allay fears that Brexit would affect supply chains and put the future of the plant in danger.
The Prime Minister assured workers that his Brexit deal would protect standards and industrial requirements, and was also asked to reassure staff bout the security of jobs in the North East.
During his visit to the plant, the PM said: “I think, what business, large and small want to see is certainty about the arrangements. The thing about the deal we have got ready to go, is that as I say, it does protect the supply chains and keeps them intact and makes sure we have complete equivalence when it comes to our standards our industrial requirements and the rest of it.
He added: “As we come out, it is all protected.”
But this no longer seems to be the case, if Javid’s comments are anything to go by.
Speaking to the Financial Times, the Chancellor said: “There will not be alignment, we will not be a ruletaker, we will not be in the single market and we will not be in the customs union – and we will do this by the end of the year.
He added: “We’re … talking about companies that have known since 2016 that we are leaving the EU.”
This will ring alarm bells for businesses, particularly those in the car manufacturing and agricultural industries who rely on frictionless trade to keep supply chains working efficiently, as the price of non-alignment could be more complex trade barriers for those who export and import with the rest of the EU.
Javid’s comments not only represent a government U-turn, but also a personal U-turn from the man who said in 2016 that the only thing guaranteed about leaving the bloc was a decade of “stagnation and doubt”.
Back then, Javid said: “Just like the Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, and IMF head Christine Lagarde, I still believe that Britain is better off in. And that’s all because of the single market.”
Are British businesses being hung out to dry as the government chases a Brexit that has become more of an ideology than an idea based in what’s best for the UK? Let us know your thoughts below.