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According to Karen Briggs, KPMG’s Head of Brexit, most UK businesses are already well prepared for Brexit risks and are starting to act on their Brexit plans. Discussing the triggering of Article 50 Ms Briggs stated:

“Having spoken to businesses up and down the country, it’s clear the majority of CEOs have Brexit plans and are already taking action. There is very little complacency around, now the spectre of a cliff edge situation has become a realistic scenario. People know the potential impact is huge and they need to act now. 

“Although individual companies have different levels of Brexit exposure, the majority are deep into scenario planning and some firms are beginning to reconfigure their businesses. This means talking to and reassuring staff, seeking new regulatory approvals, and shifting certain parts of their operations. UK PLC recognise we are at the point of no return and key business decisions are now required. 

“The organizations we’re speaking to realise there needs to be more sectoral and public private collaboration, more infrastructure to support skills and trade, more ramping up of recruitment and training local staff.  Companies can see the migration issue is already starting to bite and that supply chain difficulties are not far down the road.  

“The exchange rate means the UK is now less attractive as a country in which to work and the supply of EU nationals is beginning to dwindle - although the exchange rate is good for overseas investment.  We’ve already seen some call centres manned by EU nationals in the UK being moved to EU countries. Universities have seen the number of EU nationals drop and expect that trend to worsen further next year. Life sciences have seen how EU nationals are often staying away.  

“However, amongst all this complexity we’ve seen some wonderful examples of entrepreneurialism. Companies are making acquisitions to address potential changes in tariffs, cost pressures on imported components are being mitigated through new design, and businesses are rethinking their attachment to the South East to reduce costs. Firms are calculating how to make Brexit, and the disruption it will cause, into a business opportunity – not just a managed risk.

“Collectively this adds up to a sharp uptick in demand for advisory services across immigration, customs, and supply chain. Indeed we’re currently in the process of boosting the support we already offer around EU nationals, treasury, plus trade and exports. Our advice to business is that it has become untenable to not have a Brexit plan.”

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