Britain’s decision to leave the EU will mean businesses across Britain will face a nervous time according to industry experts as they urged the government to do everything it could to maintain some form of stability.
As prime minister David Cameron announced his resignation after the EU referendum supported Brexit, CBI’s director general Carolyn Fairbairn said: “This is a momentous day for British business. The priority is to reassure the markets. We need strong and calm leadership from the government, working with the Bank of England, to shore up confidence and stability in the economy. The choices we make over the coming months will affect generations to come. This is not a time for rushed decisions. The CBI will be consulting its members and business is committed to working with government to shape the best possible conditions for future prosperity.”
Mike Cherry, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “Smaller businesses need a focus on economic certainty and stability. In light of the result there has been a shock to the market with the pound falling to its lowest level against the dollar since 1985. We call on the government and the Bank of England to put in place measures to prevent any further instability negatively impacting small businesses. Small firms need to know what this means for access to the single market as soon as possible.”
Simon Walker, Director General of the Institute of Directors, said: “It is imperative that our political leaders manage the transition as smoothly as possible. The weeks and months ahead are going to be a nervy time for business leaders, so they need to know that the government is focused on maintaining stability while a new relationship with the EU is established.
“Even once we have left, the EU will continue to be our biggest trading partner, and the first destination for many companies when they start to export. One thing the government must do immediately is to guarantee the right to remain of EU citizens currently in the UK. Companies do not want to have to worry about losing valued staff.”
Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, says the Bank will not hesitate to intervne to steady the markets. “It will take some time for the UK to establish a new relationship with Europe and and the rest of the world,” he said. “Some market and economic volatility can be expected as this process unfolds but we are well prepared for this. Her Majesty’s Treasury and the Bank of England have engaged in extensive contingency planning and the chancellor and I have remained in close contact including through the night and this morning. The Bank of England will not hesitate to take additional measure as required, as markets adjust.
“As a backstop to support the functioning of the markets the Bank of England is ready to provide more than £250bn of additional funds through its normal market operations. The Bank of England is also able to provide substantial liquidity in foreign currency if required. We expect institutions to draw on this funding if and when appropriate.”
Steve Varley, UK chairman of EY, said: “Communicating with staff about any potential employment issues that might arise, including the working and travel rights of European and UK employees, will be a high priority for many.”