The hiatus continues. Both major political parties are locked into leadership issues and until these are resolved it is difficult to see in which direction the UK will take. Apparently, the present government, with its new leadership team, will continue until the next scheduled general election, 7 May 2020.
George Osborne’s last budget, March 2016, is still working its way through parliament and we can expect this process to complete once the report stage is finished and the bill receives Royal Assent. No doubt the new incumbents will consider a further finance bill later this year to smooth the way for Brexit?
Meanwhile, we are faced with two dilemmas:
• When will we formally separate from Europe and what continuing trade agreements will we secure with the EU?
• What trade agreements will we secure with the rest of the world?
It is encouraging to see that the present government are not entirely inactive in this regard. The Business Secretary, Sajid Javid, has kicked off preliminary trade talks with India this month, and there are further, tentative talks organised with the USA, China, Japan and South Korea.
The Business Secretary Sajid Javid said:
“Following the referendum result, my absolute priority is making sure the UK has the tools it needs to continue to compete on the global stage.
That is why I am in India today to launch these initial trade discussions. There is a strong bilateral trade relationship between our 2 countries and I am determined that we build on this.
Over the coming months, I will be conducting similar meetings with other key trade partners, outlining the government’s vision for what the UK’s future trade relationship might look like.”
As part of the discussions, the Business Secretary is expected to make clear that he would like the UK and India to have a trade agreement in place as soon as possible after the UK leaves the EU.
So we are not without leadership. Meanwhile, now would be a good time to consider, and reconsider, investment options for small businesses across the UK while we wait for the wider trade negotiations to complete.