Business leaders in Peterborough urge Government to just "get on" with Brexit

Leaders of some of Peterborough's largest companies have reacted with dismay to the political fallout over Theresa May's draft Brexit plan.

Thursday, 15th November 2018, 2:31 pm
Updated Thursday, 15th November 2018, 3:36 pm
Media gather outside the House of Commons ahead of Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal statement to MPs.

Business leaders have warned that uncertainty and delays over finalising Brexit are not good for confidence or planning

They have urged the Prime Minister, her government and all MPs to just get on with it and cut out the constant bickering.

Their comments come after Theresa May's outline 585-page Brexit deal was met with four Cabinet ministers' resignations plus that of North West Cambridgeshire MP and Northern Ireland minister Shailesh Vara.

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The political disarray upset the markets and sent the pound tumbling.

John Bridge, chief executive of Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, said: "Business wants uninterrupted trade.

"Many businesses are finding it difficult to make key decisions because of the uncertainty being created by the politicians.

We are already starting to see businesses delay investment decisions.

"Companies are drawing up their plans for the year ahead but this will take them beyond Brexit and they've no idea what is going to happen. So decisions are being put on hold.

"There is a lot of dismay at the way politicians are handling Brexit."

Mark Fenyes, chairman of Omega-Sinto, in Morley Way, Woodston, which employs about 70 people in Peterborough, said: "There is no clarity to the debate at the moment.

"Politicians need to get on with. At the moment I just can't see an end in sight ot it any time soon.

He added: "It is not easy because the European Union does not want to make it an easy ride. It was always going to be this way.

Mr Fenyes warned: "But if Mrs May's deal is it I think we are better staying in the European Union.

"What is currently on the table is not what people voted for and I can't see any point in pushing on with it.

Jason Burgess, director of Yaxley-based fresh produce supplier Produce World, said: "I'm dismayed with the state of the UK's Brexit negotiations generally.

"This uncertainty is not good for business and the sooner we get clarity the better.

He added: "I wouldn't want to be in Mrs May's position.

"I don't agree with leaving the EU and while people voted to leave in the referendum there wasn't too much in it and so it was always going to be difficult to get an agreement that pleased everyone."

Mr Burgess is also the chairman of the British Growers Association and has been involved in talks with the Government about agricultural policy after Brexit.

He said: "I'm encouraged with the progress of our talks with DEFRA . The officials have listened but there is still some way to go.

"Our biggest challenge is getting the labour we need.

"The horticulture sector needs 80,000 to 90,000 people at the seasonal peaks.

"We've had a commitment from the Government to grant temporary status for 2,500 people - it is a long way short of what we need and is going to be very challenging for us."

Ben Atkins, chairman of engineering company Vogal Group, based at Kingston Park, in Fletton, said: "The decision to leave the EU hasn't affected the business so far and I don't anticipate that it will over the next year or so.

"However, I am dismayed at the way Brexit has been handled.

"I think that all the infighting and bickering between our politicians must be a godsend to the EU leaders. We're shooting ourselves in the foot.

"The country voted to leave and we need to get on with it and we have to make the best of it."