The UK’s Brexit fearing economy is anything but asleep as this columnist learned by accident that UK companies are ‘evacuating’ top executives to new EU bases ahead of the promised May/Davis Hard Brexit
by Denis G. Campbell
As a kid, that term described the noise in drag racing of tyre rubber burning and smoke as one spun their wheels to get a fast start. Many UK based, EU-wide businesses cannot deal with Brexit uncertainty and are doing the equivalent, only with silencers on.
I needed tyres. It had been a busy day so at almost 5 pm I was one of two customers trying to get the deed done without losing time. I sat in the waiting room, following a guy to the order desk who “needed tyres TODAY” for his Mercedes Sprinter van. We chatted. He owns a specialty pet transport company and is so busy his five vans are in constant motion 7-days a week.
A classic entrepreneur, he saw a market need and filled it. Aside from personally being a great business success story (he worked on the line in the steel works and now runs a successful company), we talked about the trauma of moving pets while the family moves house. I said, “what a great idea, this takes the stress away. You take care of the family dogs, cats and other animals on their way to a new home.”
I asked him why he was so busy? He said, “we are under huge demand. So many UK businesses are relocating their top bosses this summer.” This was where my ears perked up and I mentioned I was a journalist covering all things Brexit.
Despite this flurry of activity, his business is facing Customs treaty fallout, potential new taxes and duties, pet passport changes and other issues once Brexit goes through. As the penny continued to drop, it became clear:
To prepare for the uncertainty of post-Brexit UK life, perhaps in complete isolation here, something no EU business wants, companies are moving their operation centres to Frankfurt, Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels.
Theresa May was warned last year by banks and businesses about the impact of a ‘Hard Brexit.’ She and David Davis are under the delusion that this will all be magically settled by 2019. Today, I feel the most terrified I’ve been about these clowns ‘negotiating’ UKs Brexit. Major employers are quietly moving key execs out of the UK NOW, to get ready to move the majority of their operations next year ahead of 2019.
And even if Brexit is cancelled, what business will undergo this expense and simply reverse it when the political exercise fails? They cannot and will not wait for Davis and May to get their Brexit act together. The Tory pair blithely think and have sold the nation a bunch of malarkey that Brexit will happen on THEIR terms?
They are very badly mistaken!
This nice hard-working man runs a booming business and hopes the UK will get the same treatment as Norway, Switzerland and others post-Brexit. But what if someone wants to relocate to The Netherlands after Spring, 2019, I asked? He shrugged. “I don’t know, no one does.”
A major online retailer just moved their top 11 leaders to Prague(!). One of them left in such haste the company bought out a new £30,000 pound luxury auto lease. Four top hedge fund leaders are off to Frankfurt and have all used his pet moving service. And that was learned in a ten-minute conversation with ONE service provider? How many other companies are doing this same thing? And what does it mean to the UK economy whose GDP growth was just downgraded by the IMF from 2.3% to 2.1%?
There is an out-of-control freight train barreling towards the UK economy. By the time this Government acts? Our economy will be toast. ‘Hard Brexit’ means companies make plans and the UK will not be in them!
And when Number 10 and the Tories realise this, it’s not just Game Over, it means the UK’s global economy just peeled out!