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Brexit will be toxic for UK and toxic for its businesses

by Geeta Sidhu-Robb | 08.11.2018

Brexit is going to be toxic for Britain and toxic for its businesses. The deal we look like we’re getting from the government is likely to be a halfway house which pleases no one and potentially leaves business even more confused about the future than it is already.

This is why business leaders from across the UK are coming together today to back a People’s Vote. A new campaign group, Business for a People’s Vote, will publish a poll of over 1,000 business leaders which shows majority support for a vote on the final Brexit deal at all levels of the business community.

The campaign brings together businesses of all sizes from across the UK – SMEs, entrepreneurs and big business – including mine, Nosh Detox, an award winning innovator in Europe’s health and wellness sector. We also have the entrepreneurs behind Cobra Beer, Innocent and the Reading & Leeds Festivals as well as a manufacturer of boxer shorts, the owner of a flower shop and the former bosses of Sainsbury’s and BT.

The launch will be followed up by business people contacting their MPs to tell them how concerned they are about the emerging Brexit “deal”.

Write to your MP to
demand a People's Vote

writethiswrong.co.uk

The key problems are that the political declaration about our future trading relationship with the EU won’t give us good access to our biggest market, won’t be legally binding and will be ambiguous. Although the divorce agreement will keep the UK in the EU’s single market and customs union for 21 months after we quit the bloc, no business can make long-term investments on the basis of only 21 months of certainty.

Brexit is already hitting investment, growth and jobs and that’s not what we were told we were voting for. The best way through this muddle is a People’s Vote. At least then we will know if the country really wants to go down this path.

As a mother and woman entrepreneur, I am very concerned about the course of our country, especially as it not only concerns my future, but that of my children. More importantly, I fear for the toxic environment that could be created for women under an already divided vote. During the run up to the referendum and since the result, women’s needs and voices have been ignored by a few privileged men across both sides of the divide. They cannot be the justification to undo the years of hard work everyone has put together to ensure a thriving multi-cultural and commercially booming business-friendly Britain.

The UK is at present upholding some of the most critical, necessary rights for women introduced by the EU. Measures such as equal pay for work of equal value, parental leave, anti-harassment laws, properly paid holiday rights, and anti-discrimination provisions including on pregnancy and maternity, are hard-won rights that are being threatened. Sadly, when you look at the statistics, women are half as likely as men to start their own business, and only a fifth of smaller firms were led by women – we need to ensure this already existent gender bias doesn’t reset to square-one under a complete UK withdrawal from the EU.

This is the reason I am at the forefront to rally all women in businesses to stand their ground for a democratic, open Britain which can prosper under trade and relations with the EU.

Geeta Sidhu-Robb is the CEO and founder of Nosh Detox Delivery.

Edited by Hugo Dixon