IoD responds to PM’s conference speech

Responding to the Prime Minister’s speech at Conservative Party Conference, Edwin Morgan, Director of Policy at the Institute of Directors, said:

“The Prime Minister spoke of needing compromise to reach a Brexit deal, and all sides must live up to this principle in word and deed in the weeks ahead. It can’t just be about getting Brexit done, it matters how it’s done.

“Business leaders keenly hope there is space for a deal, but we are fast running out of road. We await the details behind the Government’s proposals, but the issues in addressing the Irish border are not just technical in nature, and they can’t be treated in isolation. Moreover, plans to avoid a hard border can’t put the compliance burden so high on businesses that it aggravates the existing challenges while creating a whole new set of problems.

“A no-deal exit will not relieve uncertainty but exacerbate it, squashing investment and distracting ever further from pressing domestic priorities. We will continue to do all we can to help firms prepare for the potential impact of no deal, but for many, the injurious effects of a disorderly Brexit simply cannot be planned away. On top of this, there is still no confirmation of no deal tariff changes or any further detail since March on how trade across the Irish border will be managed in practice. Small firms need this clarity as well as targeted assistance to see them through the Brexit tumult.

“On domestic issues, the Prime Minister’s lauding of the UK’s innovative potential will be welcomed by company directors. The greater part of the challenge, however, will be creating the environment in which enterprise can thrive, and that means reducing barriers on skills, infrastructure, regulation and tax. There were some positive announcements on these areas at this conference, but many businesses feel as if government-imposed costs are still piling up.”