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Battling Brexit in Budget 2019

Sep 13, 2018

The UK voted to leave the EU in 2016 and since then, Chambers Ireland has been engaging with the Network to gauge their views on what they see as the biggest challenges of the UK’s departure and what they propose to mitigate any negative impact.

Chambers continue to be concerned with the lack of clarity on the trading relationship that will exist between the EU and the UK after March 2019.  In a survey carried out last spring, three quarters of Chambers reaffirmed that Brexit presents more challenges than opportunities and identified a reduction in trade, the return of a hard border with Northern Ireland and negative impacts on tourism as being the three biggest challenges facing Irish business.

The almost certain reduction in trade between Ireland and the UK will have a disproportionate impact on our indigenous firms, especially our exporting SMEs, who are hugely reliant on the UK as their primary market. Government must ensure that businesses are supported to diversify markets, upskill in customs requirements, and ensure that the tourism industry remains competitive and continues to attract visitors. (Our recommendations on how we can support the Tourism sector will be dealt with in a seperate blog post)

Trade Supports

Over the coming year, Government has a final opportunity to take steps to “Brexit-proof” our economy and to support Irish business to prepare, increase resilience and maintain competitiveness following the UK’s departure. However, this is likely to be a challenge since there continues to be many unknowns regarding the kind of Brexit Irish business will be facing. Government should make use of Budget 2019 to ensure that businesses can take practical steps to prepare for the UK’s departure. We must ensure that the supports, resources, training and finance are being fully utilised by Irish business in the year ahead.

Recommendations:

  1. Government should work with and resource the Chamber Network to communicate resources managed by Government and state agencies that are designed to support business in preparing for Brexit. The Chamber Network is ideally placed to communicate the range of supports available to businesses of all sizes and across all sectors.
  2. Government should support the Chamber Network, given its expertise in the issuance of trade documentation, in providing customs training to exporters seeking to upskill in the areas of customs regulation and documentation.
  3. We call on Government to continue to make funding available through the Brexit Loan Scheme and to expand the funds to support more businesses that may wish to innovate in response to Brexit.
  4. We call on Government to introduce additional supports for businesses who wish to expand their activities in e-commerce with a view to becoming more engaged in the Digital Single Market and with a view to competing with UK businesses selling online, who may have a competitive edge post Brexit, due to exchange rate fluctuations.
  5. Government should support direct engagement between Irish Chambers and Chambers in the United Kingdom to work together and develop opportunities for business-to-business collaborations to prepare for the threats posed by Brexit.

Read our Pre Budget Submission

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