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'Brexit Club' launched to steer businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire

Les Reid 17th Jan, 2017 Updated: 17th Jan, 2017

A ‘BREXIT Club’ has been set up to guide Coventry and Warwickshire businesses over how they could be affected by the UK leaving the European Union.

The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce is launching a Brexit Club to help its members adjust to life outside the EU – and its steering group has held its first meeting.

Representatives from sectors including manufacturing, automotive, construction, legal, leisure and logistics drew up plans to help the area’s companies be fully prepared for Brexit.

The group considered what challenges and opportunities Brexit may bring, along with major priorities.

The session was chaired by David Burton, a city accountant and a Chamber board member.

He said it was vital the chamber was as prepared as possible to allow business to make any adjustments once Article 50 to trigger Brexit was actioned by the government.

He added: “With such a scarcity of information from the government about its plans for Brexit, it is very hard for businesses to set out their stall for the coming months and years, so that they are in the strongest position once the withdrawal actually happens.

“There were a myriad of issues – from custom controls to employment law, and from energy costs to certification.

“Those companies which trade overseas also felt it very important that we seek the views of international trading partners to assess their perception of how Brexit may affect their relationships with UK firms.

“We will now collate the issues raised, so that we are ready to put them to ministers and other key decision makers in the coming months.

“We will also be planning a series of wider events which will address particular issues.”

Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Chamber added: “Businesses thrive on certainty and planning, and the lack of a visible plan makes that very difficult. We will be lobbying ministers to try to provide answers to the questions which have been raised.

“The lack of a visible plan may well be a tactic, but certainly the feeling of the group is that the government was caught on the hop by the vote to withdraw.

“We are clearly stepping into the unknown which makes business nervous, and therefore can hinder growth when our economy is actually out-performing many others.

“But, when all is said and done, the withdrawal from the EU – whatever shape it takes – is going to happen and businesses will need to be as ready and prepared as possible.”

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