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Investment slumps again on latest in Brexit ‘soap’

Friday 12 April 2019

Dr Tony Syme of the University of Salford Business School comments on the latest Brexit delay.

He said: "The sight of Theresa May begging for extra time to stay within the EU was unthinkable after the referendum, but now it is merely unsurprising.

"But it has also been inevitable for over two years. Her Lancaster House speech in January 2017 outlined her ‘red lines’. In what is termed the ‘Brexit trilemma’, it is simply impossible to meet more than two of the following red lines: leave single market and customs union; end freedom of movement; no hard Irish border.

"Unless there is a change in either the red lines or the prime minister, the trilemma will not be resolved by 31st October and another request for an extension is inevitable.

"The CBI and the TUC have found enough common ground to work together and to write a joint letter to Theresa May, demanding a change to her approach. Earlier today, the president of the CBI said that it would be ‘great to erase red lines’ and that, if MPs cannot reach an agreement on Brexit, the only other option is to ‘go back to the people’.

"The context for this is clear. This week’s release of the BDO Optimism Index showed that business confidence fell faster in March than at any time since the height of the Financial Crisis in 2008. Business investment has fallen for four consecutive quarters, the first time that this has happened since the Financial Crisis.

"The lady is clearly not for turning, but the consequences are becoming titanic.”

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Sam Wood

0161 295 5361