Businesses in regions concerned about trade costs and ‘limited’ transition of Brexit


Tuesday 27 March 2018

Businesses in regions concerned about trade costs and ‘limited’ transition of Brexit

British firms may need a transition period of up to five years in order to properly prepare for Brexit an alliance of three chambers of commerce warned today.

The three chambers - London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce (GMCC) and Business West – who have come together because of specific issues facing the large city regions, said firms are deeply worried about the trade costs of Brexit and felt the proposed 21-month transition period was too limited.

The call came as the alliance launched in parliament their first joint campaign - Terms of Trade: the reality of Brexit for business – exploring the real impact Brexit uncertainty is having on businesses across three of the UK’s largest metro regions.

An independent report from Cebr, and commissioned by the three chambers, examined the likely financial impact of the Norway, Canada and WTO trade models on business notably concluding that more research was urgently needed to understand the impact beyond London.

Vicky Pryce, Cebr Chief Economic Adviser said: “Our report is an initial snapshot, it should be noted that we found a limited amount of readily available post referendum regional data to make a thorough assessment of the impact of the potential scenarios on metropolitan areas, that itself is food for thought”. 

With the UK and EU last week agreeing a transition period proposed to end on 31 December 2020, the three-chamber alliance is concerned that this does not allow enough time for the bulk of UK firms to prepare for a new trading environment.

Pointing to member insights collated on their new digital campaign hub – – the three chambers believe that 3-5 years would be a reasonable period for transition, allowing SMEs to model the impact of potential new tariffs, assess potential non-tariff barriers, identify, recruit and induct any new staff required to process the changes, and order and install new plant, machinery or software.

Speaking on behalf of the three chambers, Colin Stanbridge, Chief Executive of LCCI said: “The long Brexit process has been debilitating to firms’ resilience. Now we have a transition period of 21 months - or 90 weeks – that may not give many small to medium firms’ adequate time to plan and prepare for a potential cliff edge on New Year’s Eve 2020. From where we stand, the proposed transition period looks unrelated to business needs – that is a real worry”.


Media contact                                                                                                               Katharine Barney
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  1. The Three Chambers Alliance consists of London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce (GMCC) and Business West (BW).
  2. Visit the Three Chambers Alliance website here:
  3. Cebr was commissioned to prepare the Brexit and the Metropolitan Areas report. Vicky Pryce and Douglas McWilliams were the co-authors of the report.
  4. The Report will be published at the Three Chambers Alliance Parliamentary reception on Tuesday 27th March attended by MPs and businesses from across the three metro regions.
  5. Mr Colin Stanbridge, Chief Executive of LCCI is available for further comment and interview.
  6. The following business member case studies are available:
  • United Corporation Limited, supply and logistics company based in Wallington, Surrey
  • St Vincent’s Family Project, Westminster-based charity
  • MAN Diesel, diesel generator and turbo machinery producers based in Stockport
  • Biral, specialist weather sensor manufacturer based in Portishead
  • Beyond the Bean, Bristol-based suppliers to the café industry
  • Polydron, Cotswolds-based construction toy manufacturer
  • Honda, multinational car, aircraft & power equipment manufacturer; UK HQ in Swindon
  • O’Leary Goss, Bristol-based architecture practice
  • Octink Limited, London-based construction industry supplier
  • Mac Controls, pharmaceutical engineering firm in Gloucestershire
  • Marinex, shipping services in Stroud
  • Radox Radiators, Wiltshire-based radiator manufacturer.