11 Apr 2019
Business groups, including the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), have reacted to the six-month 'flexible' extension of Article 50, granted to the UK by EU leaders.
The new Brexit deadline of 31 October 2019 has stopped the clock on the UK's potential no-deal withdrawal from the EU, which had been set for 11pm on 12 April 2019.
Reacting to the news, the BCC stated that the flexible extension will be 'preferable' for most businesses. It said: 'The prospect of a messy and disorderly exit on Friday has again been averted. Businesses will be relieved, but their frustration with this seemingly endless political process is palpable.
'Politicians must urgently agree on a way forward. It would be a disaster for business confidence and investment if a similar late-night drama is played out yet again in October.'
The CBI said that UK businesses will be 'adjusting their no-deal plans' as opposed to cancelling them. Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General of the CBI, said: 'This new extension means that an imminent economic crisis has been averted, but it needs to mark a fresh start. For the good of jobs and communities across the country, all political leaders must use the time well.'
Meanwhile, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said that Brexit deadline extensions 'provide no comfort' that there will be an end to the debating. Mike Cherry, National Chairman of the FSB, said: 'By October 31, a third of the planned transition period will have been lost. Unless we get a political consensus, all a further extension does is create even more uncertainty, which is driving small firms to despair.'