Britain’s businesses and workforces are adjusting to life outside of the EU and there are early signs that exporters are proving resilient, but that the UK’s exit from the bloc could have a serious impact on the UK labour market.
Nissan is in advanced talks to build an electric car battery gigafactory at its plant in Sunderland in what would be a major coup for the UK’s post-Brexit car industry. The move has been described as a U-turn that has shattered myths peddled by Brexit doom-mongers.
For the hospitality sector, however, new migration systems have presented a challenge. The Brexit-backing boss of JD Wetherspoon has urged Boris Johnson to introduce a visa scheme for EU workers as British pubs and restaurants struggle to recruit staff in the post-pandemic labour market squeeze.
What impact do you think Brexit has had on Britain’s businesses and workforces? Read on for the best discussion points from our readers and share your own view in the comments section at the bottom of this article.
‘The UK is stable, economically prosperous and socially progressive’
“We all know that businesses make decisions based on a range of factors including, (but not limited to, tax regime, social policies that include the ease of hiring and firing, access to markets, cost of manufacture and selling, cultural alignment, interest rates and general economic outlook, among others.
“Brexit was only ever a period of uncertainty. Businesses hate uncertainty (as do mortgage buyers) and so the threats to go or stay were only ever a way to increase leverage and competitive advantage over the government.
“But Brexit is history. There is a market of over 60 million people domestically and about 7 billion globally that businesses in the UK can tap into. The UK is stable, economically prosperous and socially progressive. It is a good place to do business and that is not a guess, it is an assessment of the inward investment the UK attracts and the prosperity of the businesses that thrive here.
“The government needs to make sure that the UK remains competitive. It should not turn into the EU lite with over officious regulation and the dead hand of bureaucracy. If we lose some access to the EU market as a result, so be it. Make the UK competitive, continue to build a stable economy and society and no government will go far wrong.”
‘Manufacturing in the UK is a better investment’
“Multinational companies know that future trade deals are more likely to involve the UK than the EU. Therefore a manufacturing presence in the UK is a better investment.”
‘We need to work harder at recruiting staff’
“A shortage of low paid foreign workers is a massive positive. All employers need to get used to having to work harder to recruit and train the necessary staff.”
‘No reason to subsidise businesses’
“Brexit has shown that if a company’s business model isn’t viable without cheap imported labour then it isn’t viable. There’s no reason for the rest of us to subsidise it.”
‘Badly paid nomadic workforces was one of the EU’s worst crimes’
“Brexit was about regaining sovereignty, which was always going to come at a cost. I suggest the hospitality industry pays wages that allow someone with a UK overhead to survive, not exploit those with an Eastern European overhead.
“The creation of a badly paid nomadic workforce was one of the EU’s worst crimes.”
‘Working conditions will improve thanks to Brexit’
“Employers have got used to offering Victorian conditions to workers: insecure zero hours contracts, rock bottom minimum wage rates and little training or job security – not dissimilar to the mills in the nineteenth century. All due to an endless supply of cheap skilled labour from the EU.
“Thank goodness that is ending, as employers now will simply have to treat their workers with more consideration and compete by offering decent working conditions. If wage costs rise and people have to pay a few pence more for their coffee or pint, so be it.”
‘As a Remainer, I was wrong’
“As a reluctant ‘Remainer’, I admit I was wrong about the economic impact of Brexit and glad that I was.
“The UK will be able to flourish outside the EU, but I still think it is a good idea to cooperate as much as possible with the EU in order to benefit both sides.”
‘The UK is attractive for investors’
“The UK is low risk which makes it attractive for investors not looking to go into bat with the contrary inconsistencies of the EU.”
‘The revival of car manufacturing was guaranteed by Brexit’
“The revival of UK car manufacturing was always guaranteed by Brexit. As a nation we actually import more cars than we manufacture.
“It was never going to be anything but a positive for the UK.”
‘Forget Brexit and get on with it’
“If we had stayed in the bloc all of our manufacturing would have carried on dwindling away.
“The EU struggled with the thought of us having services and manufacturing in one country. That wasn’t fair on the rest so it needed spreading around.
“Imagine a country with agriculture, fisheries, manufacturing and services. It can happen, but everyone needs to forget Brexit and get on with the task at hand.”
‘We can make a real success of Brexit’
“The scariest thing about Brexit is the sheer amount of Remainers so desperate for us to fail, they’re willing to aid the failure, just to say ‘we told you so’.
“Talk about spitting dummies out of prams. If they just accepted they lost and moved on, we can make a real success of it together.”