Lancaster and District Chamber of Commerce holds a roundtable discussion on Brexit
Recently, the Lancaster and District Chamber of Commerce held a roundtable discussion for its Ambassador members at University of Cumbria on the subject of Brexit and the implications for the North Lancashire economy. The guest speaker was Professor Frank Peck, Research Director, Centre for Regional Economic Development, Cumbria University. David Morris Member of Parliament for Morecambe and Lunesdale was representing the government.
The discussion focused on the present market condition in key sectors in the local economy, and the potential risks and opportunities of Brexit in these sectors in North Lancashire? Regional specific areas of attention, being the district’s main industries were agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, construction, logistics, energy and the public sector – health and education
Additionally, given our district’s unique makeup, the implications and possible mitigation measures for different communities (city, coast and countryside)?
Professor Peck ran through the Brexit risks for business which include the:
• Impacts of a “hard” BREXIT on trade to and from EU countries (tariff barriers);
• Impacts of BREXIT on skills and employment - Restricted recruitment of non-UK EU nationals at many different levels in the labour market;
• Potential difficulties in retaining existing skills and capacity;
• Uncertainty surrounding regulatory regimes – the possibility of more complex and less harmonised regulation and increased costs of compliance over time (e.g. rules of origin);
• Impacts of uncertainty on business growth and investment affecting whole supply chains – irrespective of whether any “deal” is favourable or not.
• Experts view – most commentators expect UK the economy to shrink due to BREXIT by varying amounts depending on the terms and time taken to negotiate an outcome.
The risks also present opportunities in every business. Businesses should prepare for multiple outcomes and be informed about supply sources, alternatives, different markets; they should be informed about the state of the economy – nationally, locally. Also, businesses should pay attention to indicators; medium-sized firms should engage all disciplines in planning – all departments, all employees; and they should build relationships to create network stability to offset wider uncertainty which helps them to stay informed, interpret change, and seek support (businesses take risks together, less on their own). Finally, businesses should lobby and engage with business representative bodies – actively seek and possibly influence new regulatory knowledge.