Posted 27th November 2019
Ian Baxter, Chairman at Baxter Freight, highlights what businesses are looking for from the General Election 2019.
Whilst I empathise with many Britons who feel exhausted by the very thought of a general election, the fact remains – we need a new House of Commons if we are to ever break the Brexit deadlock. People need to vote to decide what our future relationship with the European Union looks like.
As a business, Baxter Freight makes no comment as to whether Brexit is positive or negative. However, because businesses need certainty to plan and to invest, what we do say is that we need to bring matters to a conclusion as soon as possible.
We are firmly of the view that leaving the EU without a deal would be the least desirable outcome (at least in the short and medium term) and would be damaging to our customers and our economy. Luckily this now seems the least likely outcome because:
A vote for the Conservatives means pushing forward with the current Brexit deal agreed by the EU in October.
A vote for the Liberal Democrats would be a vote for a second referendum and an attempt to stop Brexit.
A vote for Labour is a vote to negotiate a new Labour deal with closer alignment to the EU followed by a second referendum to settle the matter.
Ultimately, if the outcome is a Conservative or Labour-agreed Brexit deal, to agree a free trade agreement and prepare all the arrangements before December 2020 seems an incredibly tall order. We expect that the Brexit process will extend beyond that.
As a business we would urge all political parties to get serious about developing Britain’s infrastructure with more investment in roads, rail, airports, ports and broadband. We need to move forward on long awaited projects like the third runway at Heathrow and HS2.
HS2 in particular, is a great way to spread wealth and opportunity throughout the UK. Everyone agrees we are too London-centric but not enough is being done to change that currently.
I’ve long argued that start-ups and small businesses need help with business rates especially if we are to protect our high streets from further decline and promote growth.
Overall, our new Government needs to ensure Britain is right up there as one of the best places to live, work and invest. Our public services will never get the resources they need and deserve if we don’t encourage more British people and overseas investors to start and develop businesses here.
Whatever political leaders say about Brexit, surely we can all agree that a thriving business community is essential to our future success. We need to make sure businesses, like Baxter Freight, our customers and suppliers, are encouraged to keep growing and keep investing in our employees to everyone’s benefit.
We invite other businesses to reach out to Government and share in the conversation #GeneralElection2019.