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How prepared is UK manufacturing for Brexit?

With six months to go until we leave the EU, how prepared is UK manufacturing for Brexit? Ian Shott, Executive Chairman and CEO of Arcinova shares his thoughts on UK manufacturing in preparation for Brexit. 

For decades we’ve been reliant on Europe for imports of certain goods. With Brexit on the horizon, ministers are looking at how we can make a change and start to replace that with local manufacturing on UK soil. 

From the conversations I’ve been having with ministers it’s clear they see Brexit as a golden opportunity to stimulate what we do here in the UK and they’re highly motivated to support a reindustrialisation of the country supported by the Industrial Strategy, increased Government funding for Science and Innovation and a number of fiscal levers such as R&D tax credits, lower SME corporation tax and Entrepreneurs relief. 

There are fears that new import and export rules could cripple manufacturing firms. We’ve been so used to a frictionless movement of products across borders that the thought of having to battle our way through red tape is unsettling. 

As a CEO I’m cautiously optimistic because in the private sector our natural instinct is to accept the reality of the situation and work out how to manage it. I believe that this is what we’ll do collectively.

Recent news shows a strong commitment from the Prime Minister to find a win-win solution that preserves frictionless trade with the EU. What matters now is that both sides do a deal that’s sensible and I remain confident that common sense will prevail. Brexit will consume more airtime than it should but I also believe that businesses will focus on the opportunities that present themselves from whatever is the outcome and change always generates opportunity, often unexpected.