Brexit – what will it mean?

With the unexpected ‘Leave’ vote from the referendum, the UK has embarked on a journey which will see significant change in international relationships and potentially change to the structure of the UK itself. In the short term, the political turmoil and financial uncertainty is likely to have repercussions on prices despite attempts by the current leaders to calm the situation. Only after the new Prime Minister and his/her team are in place in September are we likely to see the route of the two year formal exit journey start to emerge and the real potential for impact on the industry identified.

Much was claimed and counter claimed prior to the referendum but will there be any significant impact on the direction that the bus and coach industry is taking? Whilst European legislation has been important in setting milestones for areas such as accessibility and emmissions, customer demand and global commitments mean these are likely to remain in focus. With the civil service resource required for the exit progress, will the government need to reset priorities, particularly in respect of the devolution process and the Bus Services Bill which is currently in the House of Lords? Some of the other areas with potential for change were covered in our review of CPT’s conference on the subject back in April (B&CB 1377, 6 May 2016).

As expected there has been reaction across the spectrum:

Frost & Sullivan’s Senior Partner and MD for Europe, Sarwant Singh, said, ‘It is important to note that during this interim period, Britain will still be subject to existing EU treaties and laws, but will be barred from decision making processes. Therefore, existing regulations are likely to continue until negotiations are completed. However, there is uncertainty regarding the path ahead. This could trigger a dip in business sentiment and delays in FDI (Foreign Direct Investments). On a positive note though, Brexit could pave the way for Britain to expand trade relations with the rest of the world beyond EU, and this would especially help mitigate risks arising from excessive reliance on one trading partner.’

SMMT Chief Executive, Mike Hawes, said, ‘The British public has chosen a new future out of Europe. Government must now maintain economic stability and secure a deal with the EU which safeguards UK automotive interests. This includes securing tariff free access to European and other global markets, ensuring we can recruit talent from the EU and the rest of the world and making the UK the most competitive place in Europe for automotive investment.’

Chair of Urban Transport Group, Dr Jon Lamonte, said, ‘In the aftermath of the EU Referendum it is more important than ever that the momentum behind investment in our urban and inter-urban transport networks is maintained. The evidence clearly shows that if we want a resilient economy, we need to continue to invest in transport networks of the quality and capacity needed to meet the demands of our cities’ growing economies, as well as improving their connectivity with each other and the wider world.’

Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, issued a statement on the UK voting in favour of leaving the EU. It said, ‘Inevitably, there will be a period of uncertainty and adjustment following this result. There will be no initial change in the way our people can travel, in the way our goods can move or the way our services can be sold. And it will take some time for the United Kingdom to establish new relationships with Europe and the rest of the world. Some market and economic volatility can be expected as this process unfolds. But we are well prepared for this. The Treasury and the Bank of England have engaged in extensive contingency planning.’

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