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Presidents Blog

20 January 2017

Publish date: 20/01/2017

This weeks blog is from Judith Barnes, Bevan Brittan, Corporate Partner of LLG

Well we now know that it will be a "hard" Brexit. Theresa May in her Brexit speech on Tuesday warned the EU that "no deal was better than a bad deal" as she set out her 12 point plan. She said that she would work hard to agree a deal considered to be in the best interests of both the EU and Britain.

Since the referendum vote we have seen a reduction in investment in the UK due to uncertainty about trade arrangements with Europe, alongside a reduction in foreign investment in property, which is now having an impact on the property market. On the positive side we have seen record stock market highs, and increased exports to the rest of the world, (but still an annual trade deficit of well over £100BN). The signs of a speedy trade deal with the USA following the election of Donald Trump may signal a huge opportunity for the UK.

The PM confirmed that she wants Britain to regain control over immigration; leave the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice; possibly remain as part of the Customs Union; and that she would give Parliament a vote on the final deal. She emphasised that the deal would be unlike any other country's access to the EU and would not therefore replicate the non-EU Schengen area countries like Norway (as part of the European Free Trade Agreement) which was a serious contender before her speech this week.

The news this week that inflation has risen over 2% and that consumer spending continues to rise to levels not seen since the 2007/2008 financial crash may also be destabilising. This signals further pressure on wages and is unlikely to be good news for employees and Councils in the middle of significant financial reductions. Local growth and supporting needs of businesses in the area must remain priorities of local authorities in these uncertain times to boost local economies and support business rate growth and longer term sustainability.

Judith Barnes, Bevan Brittan LLP