No Deal Brexit To Trigger Large Layoffs In Germany, Ex-PM Calls For Delay

Britain’s separation from the European Union with a “no deal Brexit” would injure Germany’s job sector. Hard hit will be the German auto, consumer goods, and banking sectors.

This was revealed in a survey conducted on German firms. It showed a vast majority saw a no-deal Brexit culminating in job cuts.

The survey by the Federation of German Industries (BDI) and the consultancy firm Deloitte queried more than 250 German firms on their preparedness ahead of the March 29 Brexit.

More than 35 percent of companies confirmed job loss. Britain is an important export market for Germany, especially for the auto sector as German cars enjoy a big demand in the U.K.

“Negative effects will certainly occur. They cannot be prevented, even with the best preparation,” commented BDI Managing Director Joachim Lang.

In the survey, 40 percent expects low damage from Brexit, while 10 percent felt it was nominal and two percent said: “Brexit will not affect us.”

The 262 major German companies surveyed had economic ties with the U.K. The survey held in February also assessed their level of preparedness in facing the exit of U.K from the EU.

A similar study published in February revealed that a no-deal Brexit would pull down more than 100,000 German jobs.

The study conducted by the Leibniz Institute for Economic Research Halle and the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg explored the effect of Brexit on the German economy. It concluded that the automobile and technology sectors would have maximum adverse effects.

“In no other country is the effect on total employment as great as in Germany,” said Oliver Holtemöller, one of the authors.

Brexit effects already in place

Most of the companies said they are already battling the effects of Brexit. Some 45 percent of respondents said planning business with Britain has become difficult. Many investments were postponed because of the uncertainty.

Another 30 percent complained about problems emanating from the fluctuations in the exchange rate of the British pound.

Nevertheless, a majority of businesses have made general preparations to face all sorts of outcomes. Already many car manufacturers have replaced their British suppliers and more car producers are in the process.

At the Retail front, 57 percent of respondents said they stepped up storage capacities to stay ready to deliver in any kind of uncertainty. Alexander Börsch, Chief Economist at Deloitte noted that it has become difficult to hire warehouses near ports. 

Former PM Gordon Brown calls for delayed Brexit

Meanwhile, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown called for “a year-long delay to Brexit to bring the country together.”

The Labour leader sought a reasonable extension to the Article 50 negotiating period to “allow the country to be consulted.”

The Brexit process is now heading to a finale.  Prime Minister Theresa May will put her second Brexit deal to vote on March 12 in the House of Commons. Lawmakers had rejected her first agreement in January.

If the PM loses again, the options are –two more votes in which MPs can authorize a no-deal Brexit, or request for a short extension to the Article 50 to stay in the EU for some more time.

Brown said an extension to the Article 50 period ending on 29 March needed an extension. The same view is held by EU leaders as well. They have also expressed readiness to allow the U.K to continue its membership in the bloc for some more time to avoid “a no-deal Brexit.”

Brown, who previously advocated a second EU referendum, claimed top business leaders, trade union leaders, and social groups, would appeal to the MPs to facilitate the extension of Article 50 negotiating period.

The former Prime Minister said the only way to deal with the impasse is to expand the negotiating period. At the same time, he warned that a meager extension for three months would be inadequate “as it would be the same old squabbling.”

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