King Street Manchester
The King Street retail centre in Manchester city centre

Manchester vows to support businesses as Brexit looms

Sarah Townsend

The Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership and the city’s Growth Company have pledged to provide support and advice to local businesses as the UK announced its Brexit deal with the European Union today.

The UK and EU were last night finalising a historic post-Brexit deal intended to reduce the risk of Britain exiting the European single market on January 1 with no back-up arrangements in place.

The agreement was signed and announced this morning, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson claiming a “victory” over the EU.

A joint statement from Greater Manchester LEP co-chairs Lou Cordwell and Mo Isap, alongside Cllr Elise Wilson, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s portfolio lead for economy and business, and Mark Hughes, chief executive of the Growth Company, issued shortly before the deal was announced, said: “This has been an unprecedented year and we have all faced challenges like never before during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Coupled with this, the uncertainty surrounding our future trade relationship with the European Union is causing concern for many businesses and residents as we approach the end of the transition period.

“Greater Manchester’s political and business leaders have been clear that we want to see an effective trade deal with the EU. However, regardless of what shape our new relationship with the EU takes, the GMCA, GM LEP and the Growth Company remain committed to helping support businesses and individuals.”

The Growth Company has created a range of resources that businesses can access via its CG Business Growth Hub landing page, including a Brexit toolkit for businesses, podcasts and blogs exploring different topics, the statement added.

The Business Growth Hub advisors are on hand to provide tailored advice to companies through www.businessgrowthhub.com or 0161 359 3050.

The statement concluded: “The twin pressures of the pandemic and the end of the transition period leave many facing a difficult and uncertain time.

“Greater Manchester will pull together, doing all we can to support and guide those in need.”

Meanwhile, the UK’s property industry welcomed news of the conclusion of the post-Brexit deal, and the greater certainty it will bring to the sector and its market outlook.

James Butcher, head of policy at the National Federation of Builders, and chair of the Construction Leadership Council’s Brexit working group, said: “The UK and EU’s announcement of a trade deal will come as welcome relief, not just to the members but to the global economy. The agreements reached will enable construction companies to continue to reliably forecast the cost and availability of products and materials imported from the EU or comprising components made in the EU.

“The mutual co-operation in respect of reducing technical trade barriers and co-operation at the border will also undoubtedly help to avoid some of the risks of delay and disruption. What this means is that in January we will not see the inflationary shock of tariff and quota introductions or the expected currency depreciation associated with a no-deal.

“This deal delivers certainty at a time when it is needed most and represents a good day for British construction.”

 

 

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