On 23rd March Vince Cable was the keynote speaker at the “Brexit minus 365 conference”. 150 Senior business leaders from a diverse range of businesses attended the conference to discuss the impact of Brexit on their business.
A question asked continually throughout the conference was “where is the plan?”. Entrepreneurs will always find a way of adapting to whatever environment is thrown at them. They have all been doing contingency planning for some time but particularly for highly regulated industries such as Financial Services they need and are asking for greater clarity on the future regulatory environment to plan for life after Brexit.
The Brexiteers have always heralded Brexit as a great opportunity for business. These views were not shared by a single person in this audience. Andrew Dixon an angel investor said, “entrepreneurs are creative people, but no one has yet to come to me with a great plan about all the opportunities arising from Brexit.”
The biggest concern raised by all present was about freedom of movement. “We need people. Its movement, movement, movement -that’s the priority!” Karl Plunkett from Pimlico Plumbers said. All business sectors were saying that they were already experiencing skill shortages.
On the transition agreement the views in the audience were mixed. Financial Services felt it was useful as it gave more time to get clarity on the future regulatory environment. Others felt if it was merely delaying the inevitable, it would be better to take the pain now.