As a business we continue to keep fully up to date with the probable and possible impacts of the UK’s decision to leave the EU on 29th March 2019.
EU Settlement Scheme – As mentioned in previous updates our primary concerns has always been for our staff from the other 27 EU nations that work hard in our business and for our clients every day. The uncertainty the Brexit process has provided over the last few years has been both unwelcome and unsettling for all. I am pleased to see that today the government has launched the pilot scheme for the right to apply for ‘settled status’ for anyone from the EU who has lived and worked in the UK for 5 years. This will be extended to anyone with less than 5 years through the ‘pre settled’ process right up until the end of December 2020. The government has announced this afternoon that all applications for both will be without a fee and I would encourage all of our staff to apply when the full scheme opens on 30th March 2019. Any of our staff that need help with the process will be supported by both local and national management where required. It will be good for all to have this major issues finally resolved and we can have certainty that the rights of our staff to stay and work with us in the UK are fully protected.
Supply Chain & Legislation – I recently chaired a meeting of my Group Leadership Team in which the supply of goods and services from the EU to us was reviewed to ensure that our clients will not be impacted by any version of a no deal or managed Brexit. I was pleased to hear that, as expected, there will be limited impact or no impact from a managed exit and there is also limited risk with a no deal outcome. We have no major exposure on supply chain and where our suppliers are sourcing products from the EU we have had confirmation that where necessary mitigation planning has occurred to ensure consistent supply. We have had little or no increases in cost directly associated with this planning and we will work with our supply partners to mitigate in this area.
The unknown – Obviously the planning we have made and the areas we have considered are the known areas. It is very difficult for us to plan for all eventualities as many of the scenarios are unknown at this time. For instance we believe there will be either a delayed or orderly exit from the EU and therefore at this point we have not considered the impact of major unknowns such the impact on the wider economy, the currency exchange rates, interest rates etc. There are then the more extreme outcome such as civil unrest which at this point we have decided not to plan for. I think like all other businesses we will have to deal with these changes and scenarios if and when they occur or plan when we have further clarity of the direction the exit will take.
Our number one concern over Brexit was always the impact the process would have on the talented people who work for us. The process last two years has been unsettling not only for our staff from the EU but also their colleagues from the UK and wider world. We will continue to monitor the progress of the exit process and its likely impact on our staff, our business and the services we supply to our clients. We will give further updates as and when any significant relevant information is available.