Majority of organisations are ready for a no trade deal scenario, poll finds

London, 22 October 2020 – From our poll carried out last month, in collaboration with The Chartered Governance Institute, the majority of companies are prepared for the UK to leave Europe with no trade deal in place. Some 71% of respondents, the majority of which hail from finance, commerce and industry, said that they are very prepared for a no trade deal scenario. Just 9% are not at all prepared and an additional 20% were unsure of how prepared their organisation was at the time the poll was carried out.

Peter Swabey, Policy and Research Director at The Chartered Governance Institute said:

“On a scale of one to ten, with one being not at all and ten being very, just 2% of respondents to our survey indicated that a no trade deal scenario would have a significant impact on their organisation by selecting option ten compared to 8% and 6% who selected options one and two respectively. It is clear that some companies expect to be adversely affected, however. When questioned about some of the biggest effects/changes that a no trade deal scenario would have, respondents were concerned about increased costs, the impact of a worsening economy, supply chain shortages and an adverse impact on the ability to attract top global talent.

“One respondent said that ‘Anything that impacts London’s status as a centre for business, trade and listing venue with high standards of governance and respect for rule of law and regulatory oversight will be negative for us. No deal turns it into one giant bargaining chip’. Another respondent voiced their opinion that they were ‘struggling to see any scenario which is beneficial to our customers; either costs will rise, or the environmental impact will rise as we trade more with distant countries rather than our neighbours’.  Others, however, stated that they foresaw no impact, with one respondent saying that they expected some administrative issues but nothing substantive.”

When asked whether COVID-19 had impacted their company’s ability to deal with a no trade deal scenario and if it had how, one respondent said that it would prove challenging to move people to continental Europe should they need to, given travel restrictions and a reluctance to travel. Another commented that the lack of travel has impacted where consumers purchase products so any tariff implication of a no trade deal scenario could be amplified. However, most answers to this question indicated that COVID had not had a major impact, with one respondent commenting that it was ‘just another distraction to be managed’.

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