Is the UK leaving the EU just another market disruptor?

The votes are in and the UK has decided that it’s time to leave the EU. There will undoubtedly be uncertainty ahead. But will that bring opportunity, decline or, if we want to play in the EU garden, will we still have to abide by their rules?

There are now many important questions to be addressed and we don’t yet know what the referendum result means for our people, our security or our place in the global market. But we do know that businesses, both big and small, don’t just come to the UK for access to the EU market. This isn’t just a London thing: In the past 4 years, Manchester has attracted over 120 foreign companies; Birmingham saw 40% growth in foreign direct investment; and Reading has been ranked in the top 10 foreign direct investment cities of the future.

2015 saw a fifth of all European projects heading to the UK and over 170% increase in investors locating their headquarters in the UK. In the years I have been supporting businesses, and their people, move to or expand in the UK, the reasons for choosing the UK is multifaceted: Infrastructure, skilled workforce, innovation incentives, holding and financing incentives, attractive tax regime, double taxation treaty networks, business and social environment… the list goes on. In all honesty, membership of the EU is rarely cited but maybe that it is because it’s taken as a given.

There’s work to be done to ensure a smooth exit. We need continued access to the single market and how we promote the UK, outside of the EU, being an even better place to do business and site your headquarters will be crucial.

Global business is changing at a pace and that’s only going to get faster. Businesses need to be agile, global and innovative. The presence of market disruptors has become the norm. Is the UK leaving the EU just another market disruptor?

In the global business village, aren’t trading communities based upon geography a bit old hat? The biggest threat to future proofing many businesses is the lack of skilled talent. Continued access to the pool of skilled talent post Brexit, and that talent doesn’t just sit in the EU, is critical to the success of the UK.

As we move forward over the next few months: Access to markets, the cutting of red tape, certainty over regulation and tax regimes, continuing to develop our own talent and attracting the best talent from overseas, will all play their part in the next phase of success for UK business.

Watching Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway in The Intern on a recent flight, a particular quote struck a cord with me, “you’re never wrong to do the right thing”. Now that a decision has been made, and whatever our thoughts are on that, we now need to buckle in, own the change and do the right thing for the UK and our position in the global business arena.

Jo-Anne Allen Bray
Director - Tax
Office: +44 (0)23 8083 5335
Email: [email protected]


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