It’s gone on long enough. Daily Insight has made today the day to talk about Brexit. It’s going to affect you, me… all accountants and finance professionals. For many there will be benefits. There always is an upside for some folk even in the worst economic and political circumstances. And there’s bound to be a downside for many others, too.
The problem is we’re just not absolutely sure who (or what, or when) yet. And that’s after months and months of mucking around by the finest political and administrative minds in the world (probably). People like Michael Gove and Boris Johnson.
Brexit has already encroached into the world of tax, and has been used as a reason for HMRC sidelining or shelving several future projects. Making Tax Digital is sure to be affected.
May takes personal charge
We are in a pickle. And you know things are going from bad to worse when you see headlines such as “May takes personal charge of Brexit” (BBC and many others) and Department for “Exiting the EU to be downgraded” (Financial Times and many others). What could possibly go wrong?
Incidentally, what has the UK PM Theresa May been doing on the “personal charge” front for the past year or so? Isn’t that her job?
It’s OK though. With such pressing matters seemingly facing the country, MPs packed up yesterday for their “summer recess”. Brilliant. We’re in the biggest crisis facing the country for a long time, so the country’s leaders decide to Take A Long Holiday.
This is fanciful
Brexit worries are coming from all sides. For instance, the most-read letter in the FT yesterday was the one headlined “Brexiters constantly tell us all will be fine. This is fanciful”. And that’s not from some anti-establishment crazy. It’s John Nelson, chairman, Lloyd’s of London from 2011-17.
John says: “Never in over 50 years of working life have I seen the UK facing such an abject future, caused by the complete failure of our political establishment to govern, to communicate clearly with the public and, most importantly, to be honest with the electorate.
“Personal experience tells me that negotiating overseas rights is a long and painful process. If we are trying to do it as a small economy, the leverage we have is limited and far less than operating as a trade bloc, which is the EU.
UK economy in the services sector
“We would lose all the EU trading rights with third countries. It is also worth remembering that 44 per cent of our trade is with the EU. The great majority of UK economy is in the services sector — financial services alone contribute 12 per cent of gross domestic product.
“It is high time that UK business spoke up and galvanised the public to understand the true realities of what the country is facing.
Restate the EU case
“The case for remaining in the EU needs to be restated and contrasted with the now much clearer alternative. Membership of the EU has drawbacks, but overall the benefits in terms of trade, security and fellowship overwhelm the narrow shortsighted nationalism espoused by those who wish to return to an Edwardian age.
“Of course there needs to be a second referendum once the route we are pursuing becomes clear. That route will bear no resemblance to the picture painted by our politicians at the time of the first one.”
More plain-speaking, sensible voices like John’s need to join the debate. Whether you agree with staying in the EU or not.