Businesses can’t afford to leave UK before Brexit, says lawyer

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Oct 23, 2017
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The majority of British businesses are hoping that Britain and the EU will reach a compromise on a transition deal, according to a top DLA Piper lawyer

Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA 

Fears that City of London financial services giants will head for Frankfurt and other EU cities in the event of a hard Brexit are overblown, a leading lawyer has argued.

“The vast majority of UK businesses are in no position to enact such plans,” Paul Hardy, Brexit guru at the transatlantic law firm DLA Piper, said.

He added said that although London and Brussels negotiators were apparently deadlocked over key elements of the deal, British businesses would wait for a compromise to emerge.

Most British businesses “are relying heavily on the two negotiating teams reaching a compromise which allows for a transition period” in the run-up to the UK leaving the EU, he said, adding that medium-sized businesses in particular “cannot afford to draw up contingency plans, let alone press the button on them”.

The lawyer acknowledged that the “axiom that businesses hate uncertainty” was accurate, but added that it was “equally true, and more important to most in this instance, that they need reassurance that a deal is still being worked on and that the government will deliver.

“Businesses need to hold firm and trust that a deal will be made, even if it requires political intervention, and take comfort from some positive noises coming out of the Brexit summit.”

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