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Manufacturers’ ‘no deal’ Brexit fears resurface as new PM contest begins

A cross-industry manufacturers’ group has warned of devastating impacts for sectors such as construction if several prime ministerial candidates stick with their threats of a no deal Brexit

All candidates standing to become the next UK’s prime minister have been warned by manufacturers of the unsustainable financial burden facing key industries from a no-deal Brexit.

The warnings have been made by the EURIS Taskforce, which brings together manufacturers and engineers from a range of industries, as the process of appointing a successor to Theresa May is now underway.

Several high-profile Conservative MPs in the running to take the most powerful job in UK politics have refused to rule out the possibility of exiting the EU without reaching an arrangement on major issues such as customs arrangements, free movement of goods and regulatory alignment.

The UK is scheduled to automatically terminate its status as an EU member on October 31 if no further extension can be reached between the two parties.  This will happen regardless of whether a mutual agreement is reached.

Euris Taskforce chair Dr Howard Porter said that a no-deal Brexit was anticipated to result in “significant long-term damage” to a manufacturing sector that contributes £148bn to the UK economy.

Dr Porter, who is also the chief executive of BEAMA, has written to the initial ten candidates chosen by the Conservative Party to stand for prime minister in order to raise fears about the large number of jobs at risk in a range of areas such as the building services sector without an agreement.

The warnings are based on a recent Euris report entitled, ‘Securing a competitive UK manufacturing industry post Brexit’. The findings set out analysis on the importance of an exit deal being reached with the EU and the potential disaster facing industry of failing to do so.

Dr Porter said, “Of particular concern are the potential costs of regulatory compliance and administration placed on exporters and importers in the UK under a no-deal, which many believe will be too hard to bear for some companies.”

“EURIS is calling on all Conservative candidates to support UK industry and secure the future of our contribution to the UK economy by avoiding a no deal Brexit.”

An extension of the UK’s membership of the EU was granted earlier this year until October 31 after Theresa May failed to gain approval in parliament for a withdrawal agreement negotiated with other member states. The current prime minister, who remains in the role until a successor is appointed, lost multiple votes on her withdrawal agreement resulting in some of the largest defeats ever witnessed in parliament.

The extension of the UK’s membership was granted by the EU after months of warnings from figures and bodies across the construction and building services sector about the damage already seen from uncertainty over the final nature of Brexit. These concerns have come no closer to resolution with only four months of the EU extension remaining.

Seven of the party’s MPs now remain in the running after some 313 of their peers in the Conservative Party sat out their preferences for the next party leader, who will automatically become the next prime minister, according to the BBC. 114 of the party’s MPs have set their first preference for former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, making him the front runner by a significant margin.

He is among a number of the candidates to refuse to leave the EU without a deal on key issues that will impact trade, businesses and important regulation – despite fears raised by trade bodies and economic experts.

These seven remaining candidates will be whittled down to two finalists, with paid Conservative Party members then required to choose the individual that will lead the government by July.

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