Brexit vote: Milton Keynes businesses told to keep calm and carry on

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Business bosses have been told to “Keep calm, carry on, and be ready for change,” following last night’s Brexit vote.

The government suffered a historically heavy defeat when its Brexit deal was rejected by the House Of Commons on Tuesday.

And Fiona Baldwin, practice leader at financial and business advisers Grant Thornton’s Milton Keynes office, urged businesses to make sure they are prepared for the UK to crash out of the European Union without a trade deal in place.

She said: “With just ten weeks to go before Brexit day, uncertainty remains the only certainty as we still have no agreement on what Brexit will be.

“We are living through a period of greater political volatility than at any time in the last 40 years, with the UK standing on the threshold of a huge social and economic change; but we still do not know exactly what form that could take, how fast it could happen and how big a change it may be. The possible outcomes are actually widening not narrowing the nearer we get to Brexit day.

“But the default remains a ‘No Deal’ Brexit. Unless MPs can agree on something (and the EU agrees too), then we will leave the EU on March 29 with No Deal and we are currently headed straight for this scenario; a majority of MPs will have to change course to divert us from this destination.”

She added: “Business should not wait for the politicians to reach an agreement. By the time this political deadlock breaks, it will be too late to make contingency plans for March 29.

“Organisations should make business continuity plans for a No Deal Brexit (as the most immediate and most disruptive scenario); look for opportunities that this may create; and get match fit, focusing on business basics like cashflow, retaining and attracting talent, sweating your assets to meet customer need, and removing unnecessary costs.

“That is what we are already working with our clients on and many are now implementing their contingency plans; it’s not too late to start.

“Above all else, businesses should keep calm, carry on and be ready for change.”

>Milton Keynes MPs Mark Lancaster and Iain Stewart both supported the government in last night’s vote.