It’s now almost 18 months since the UK participated in a referendum to decide if we as a country should leave the EU. Having triggered this process by invoking Article 50 on 29 March this year, the UK is scheduled to finally leave the European Union on Friday, 29 March 2019, just 18 months away.
The UK's perception of Brexit has changed recently with opinions about the decision taken swinging back and forth since June 2016. There is some evidence or suggestion that there has perhaps been a slight movement in favour of ‘remain’ but it's far from compelling; it seems according to some polls that opinion now is about even at around 45% Remain and 45% Leave.
With growing uncertainty around the big ‘deal’ yet to be announced, Brexit poses many challenges for the Freight industry. Just this week it was announced that an extra 5,000 members of staff will be needed to cope with handling the Brexit process alone. At the same time it was also announced that some £500m in extra spending would also be necessary should there be a ‘No Deal’ outcome.
No matter which way you look at it, a figure of between €20 & €60 bn. is cited as being the likely bill for the UK leaving the EU. This will be an added burden for the UK taxpayer while City jobs also seem to be in the balance as EU countries vie for a share of the UK's Banking and Finance businesses.
But there is also great room for optimism. The very nature of ongoing talks are bound to fuel fears while uncertainty about the final outcome remains. The negotiations are complex and positioning of arguments is evident on both sides of the Channel. The UK is a great trading nation and is hugely important to the EU, so trusting the process is important to ensure that the economy remains vibrant in the run up to 2019. British products are as vital to the success of EU member states as are the vital imports we also have come to rely upon. The EU will not become richer by making the UK poorer, quite the contrary.
Whatever the outcome, it is essential to ensure that we get a deal that works for all with everyone on board, on all sides of the debate. The decision to leave the EU is made and a bumpy pathway was always going to be a feature of the process. Never was it more true to 'Keep Calm & Carry on!'