News | Published June 21 2019

150,000 UK firms ‘not fully ready for no-deal’, says Bank of England governor

Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney revealed on Thursday that around 150,000 UK businesses have still not completed the necessary paperwork to continue exporting to the EU in a no-deal Brexit scenario.

Carney also suggested that the contingency stocks built up by several of the firms concerned may only last a matter of weeks.

However, Carney did say that around three quarters of businesses had taken the necessary steps to prepare for no-deal and that the UK financial system was fully braced for its potential impact.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Carney said: “Business will be reliant on what the governments are able to do in order to keep the ports open and trade flowing.

But it [taking the necessary precautions] doesn't mean they [businesses] are fully ready, in fact far from it."

According to Carney, leaving with no-deal would also automatically trigger trade tariffs on goods shipped to EU states.

This would be a blow to Conservative leadership candidate Boris Johnson, who has claimed that the UK would be able to secure a ten-year grace period via the ‘Gatt 24’ article of the EU’s General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

Carney said: “We should be clear that not having an agreement with the EU would mean that there are tariffs, automatically. The Europeans have to apply the same rules to us as they apply to everyone else.

"Gatt 24 applies if you have an agreement, not if you've decided not to.”

The UK’s current Brexit deadline is October 31 and Johnson has vowed to take the country out of the EU on time and without a deal if necessary.

Jeremy Hunt, his final opponent in the race for the premiership, would also sanction no-deal if it were the only option, although he has conceded that the UK may need a further extension.

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Authored by

Scott Challinor
Business Editor
June 21 2019

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