Top City figures back Government’s new Brexit deal ahead of crunch ‘Super Saturday’ vote as focus shifts to future trade relationship
- Stuart Rose, chairman of online supermarket Ocado, said he supports the deal
- He said businesses ‘want to move on’ after three years of uncertainty over Brexit
- City economist says passing the deal will lift the cloud of uncertainty over the UK
- CBI head Carolyn Fairbairn called for ‘free and frictionless’ trade following Brexit
Big business has offered a cautious backing for the Government’s new Brexit deal ahead of the knife-edge vote in Parliament on what has been dubbed Super Saturday.
One of Britain’s highest profile remainer business figures Stuart Rose, chairman of Ocado and former M&S boss, said he supports the deal.
‘I was involved in the Remain campaign, I was a remainer but I’m also a realist. I hope I’m a pragmatist and a respecter of the democratic process,’ he told the BBC.
Stuart Rose, chairman of online supermarket Ocado and former M&S boss, said he supports the new Brexit deal
‘I think this deal isn’t ideal – someone has pointed out this morning that there isn’t a lot of difference between what Theresa May had and what Boris Johnson has this morning. But I think this deal now today is the best deal we’ll get – it is better, absolutely, than a hard Brexit.’
‘I support it, I hope that business will. I’m involved with businesses in the car industry, the food industry and the clothing industry and I can tell you that the people in the businesses I’m involved in, they want to move on.’
Keith Wade, chief economist and strategist at City investment firm Schroders, said passing the deal tomorrow could unlock ‘stronger growth’ in the economy.
‘We do not have the full details as yet, but if the deal passes through Parliament on Saturday we should see stronger growth in the UK economy as the cloud of Brexit uncertainty lifts. Importantly this is a big step toward avoiding a no-deal Brexit where the UK would have crashed out of the EU possibly causing a damaging recession.’
‘To get the deal through Parliament the Prime Minister will require the support of the hardcore Brexiteers, the 21 Tory rebels expelled from the party and around 17 Labour MPs, on the basis that the DUP votes against.’
‘However, assuming the vote goes through we will move into a transition period until at least the end of 2020 during which time the UK and EU will start to hammer out a trade deal.’
Economists in the City say passing the deal tomorrow could lift the cloud of uncertainty over Britain’s economy
‘There will still be some uncertainty about the UK’s future relationship with the EU, nonetheless the likelihood of avoiding a no-deal is increasing. As this tail risk fades sterling can be expected to rally further and gilt yields rise as investors anticipate a better economy and a firmer monetary policy,’ Wade continued.
‘Of course, if the deal fails in Parliament on Saturday we are back to where we started. Either way PM Johnson is likely to call a general election.’
CBI Director-General Carolyn Fairbairn wants ‘free and frictionless’ trade following Brexit
Yesterday CBI Director-General Carolyn Fairbairn, who has repeatedly warned of the risks associated with a no-deal departure, also cautiously welcomed the breakthrough.
‘If agreed by parliament, this deal unlocks a transition period, guarantees rights of the four million citizens living abroad in the UK and EU, and opens a pathway to a new EU/UK partnership. It would keep trade flowing freely across the island of Ireland and, most importantly, avoid a damaging no-deal scenario.’
Her focus now appears to be turning to the trade deal negotiations that will follow an exit on 31 October.
‘Yet business has serious concerns about the direction of the future UK-EU relationship. Decades of free and frictionless trade with the UK’s largest market, forged by thousands of firms big and small, must not be abandoned,’ Fairburn said.
‘Frictionless EU trade and regulatory alignment is vital for UK prosperity and jobs. The deal remains inadequate on services, which make up 80 per cent of the UK economy. And big questions remain about the feasibility of negotiating a new trade agreement deep enough in a 14-month transition period.’