Adam Jackson, head of public affairs and director of Brexit advisory services from Grant Thornton commented:
“The new Brexit deadline of 31 October averts the possibility of a disruptive no-deal Brexit this week but it does create ongoing uncertainty for business. The possible end destinations remain the same: a no-deal Brexit at Halloween, orderly transition with a deal, or no Brexit. The extension does not break the UK political deadlock that has prevented MPs from agreeing on anything and moving forward.
“Over recent months we have seen an easing in new deal activity and, whilst ongoing M&A transactions are continuing to close, it is clear that some investment decisions are being postponed. Unless MPs agree a deal soon, we face a continued period of uncertainty with a subdued UK economy and subdued investment. Business have now had three different Brexit day deadlines this year and ongoing contingency plans to manage potential supply chain disruption of a possible no-deal will be a drain on cash for some.
“Over the coming months we will also see a heightened risk of political volatility, with the prospect of insurgent parties doing well in the European parliament elections, a leadership contest in the Conservative party and the possibility of a general election later this year. This creates a more unstable political situation which could result in significant change to the UK business environment.
“Businesses can navigate this uncertainty and use the extension period to protect, create and transform value by: continuing to develop their Brexit resilience plans, identifying ‘no regrets’ decisions that will help in any Brexit outcome, and looking for opportunities and competitive advantage. Around 90% of the work we have done with mid-market clients to prepare for Brexit covers areas that will strengthen the business regardless of the Brexit outcome. Brexit may be uncertain, but we have seen that those who have planned for all eventualities are getting on with their business with confidence.”