FSB urges cross-party cooperation

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Politicians must work together to break the Brexit impasse, says the national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses.

Responding to Parliament’s rejection last night of the Government’s Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, and the tabling of a motion of no-confidence in the Government, Mike Cherry said: “It is time for politicians to come together and urgently find a way forward from this alarming Brexit stalemate, and now, no-confidence vote.

“The UK is due to leave the EU in just ten weeks, and yet businesses still have no idea what kind of circumstances they should prepare for. Many small businesses would be adversely impacted by a chaotic no deal exit. It is vital that there is a transition period, to give smaller firms time to adapt to whatever the final outcome turns out to be.

“Small business confidence has plummeted to its lowest point since the wake of the financial crash. Four in ten expect performance to worsen over this quarter, two thirds are not planning to increase capital investment, and a third see lack of the right skills as a barrier to growth. That’s what political uncertainty does to business: it makes it impossible to plan, innovate and expand.

“The UK’s talented entrepreneurs are adept at finding innovative solutions when overcoming challenges in their businesses. It’s time for politicians to show that kind of innovation, flexibility and can-do spirit to end the impasse and bring some certainty that there will be both time and support to plan for the future during a transition period.

“The Prime Minister tonight suggested that beyond tomorrow’s confidence vote she would be willing to approach members of other parties in a constructive spirit. This should involve meaningful talks, to find a genuine cross-party way forward.”