Retail groups cautiously welcome MPs’ Brexit no-deal rejection

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Brexit retail
// BRC and Retail NI welcome House of Commons’ rejection of no-deal Brexit last night
// Both organisations now urge the government to delay the Brexit date
// MPs will tonight vote on asking permission from the EU to extend Brexit date

Two leading retail lobby groups have cautiously MPs’ decision to reject a no-deal Brexit, but called on Westminster to urgently find a new solution.

Last night, MPs voted by 312 to 308 to reject a no-deal Brexit scenario.

Tonight, MPs will vote again – this time regarding whether it should seek permission from the EU to delay the official departure date on March 29.

However, as last night’s vote was not binding, there is still a chance the UK could crash out of the EU without a deal once that date comes around.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) responded by warning that retail businesses faced “mounting costs with each passing day” that there is no clarity on Brexit.

“We welcome MPs’ commitment to taking no deal off the table, however, it remains the default option if nothing else can be agreed,” BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said.

“Until a solution is found that can command the support of the House of Commons, it is impossible to guarantee that a disastrous no deal is avoided.

“Furthermore, businesses face mounting costs with every passing day as they try to mitigate the disruptive effects of leaving without a deal.

“A no-deal Brexit is bad for businesses, bad for consumers and bad for the country. If MPs wish the British public to avoid higher prices and less choice on the shelves, they must consider any option which secures a transition period after the withdrawal date.”

Meanwhile, Retail Northern Ireland chief executive Glyn Roberts said MPs urgently needed to approve “a prolonged extension period” of at least four months.

He said this would provide retailers “some breathing space” to plan for Brexit.

“This announcement brings some degree of certainty, in one aspect at least by taking ‘no-deal’ off the table,” he said.

“The Commons must now also agree to seek an extension to the Brexit departure date.

“The UK Government’s proposals for a no-deal tariff regime made for frightening reading for retailers on both sides of the NI border.

“A no-deal exit would cause untold damage to cross-border shopping and to border town economies, and would doubtless lead to a considerable increase in illegal cross-border trade where an impractical ‘honour-based’ system of duties had been proposed by the UK.”

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