Government’s single-minded Brexit focus impacts on UK trade figures


The Forum of Private Business is advising members to have a survival plan in place as the UK goes through the Brexit negotiations.

Reacting to today’s poor Productivity and Trade data, which show that the UK’s total trade deficit widened by £2 billion between May and June of this year, the Forum is expressing concern that the eyes of both the Government and Business are too heavily focused on Brexit and not enough on getting Britain trading.

Ian Cass, the Chief Executive of the Forum of Private Business, explained: “The latest data covering manufacturing, productivity and trade, together with the Bank of England’s Inflation Report are all telling us that businesses are likely to face difficult economic times in the coming two years. Yet the Government appears to have just one thing on its agenda…Brexit. Many businesses have the impact of increased business rates to contend with, but the Government website to help with appeals is not working.

Additionally, many businesses are facing upheaval to comply with the new Data Protection requirements, which are being rushed through to align with European rules, but with no clarity on how they will affect them.”

Today’s data, released by the Office for National Statistics, makes poor reading for the production sector, with output and manufacturing reportedly falling in the second quarter of this year.