Brexit extension will bring ‘no good news’ to British economy, says UK manufacturing boss

Stephen Phipson, chief executive officer of the MakeUK industry lobby group, which represents 5,000 British firms, said all Mrs May has done is leave the UK in limbo after seeking an extension from April 12 to Halloween. He told Bloomberg: “There’s no good news here – it’s extended uncertainty.” Referring to investment opportunities, he added: “It’s a dramatic moment – there’s just nothing going on.”

Mr Phipson’s group represents companies based in Brexit-voting areas as well as smaller manufacturers who are suffering financial difficulties.

He also said 70 percent of the firms he represents have frozen investment as they have worked to build up inventories in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

He said the less important company spending on training and advertising ha dried up as firms “batten down the hatches”.

Mr Phipson also said he had crunch talks with Business Secretary Greg Clark nan attempt to persuade manufacturers to invest during the new six-month Brexit extension.

He said that “it’s particularly difficult” to get Japan to invest in Britain due to the power nation’s new trade deal with the EU.

Added to that, Japanese companies such as Honda, Nissan and Panasonic have scaled down their plants in the UK amid the Brexit uncertainty.

Mr Phipson said: “Why would you invest in the UK if there’s the possibility of a 10 percent tariff going forward and you’ve now got this tariff-free arrangement with the EU directly?”

Mr Phipson’s words may well come at a time of increased uncertainty over Brexit, but also when Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party surge in the EU election polls.

Speaking in the European Parliament on Tuesday, Mr Farage claimed the bloc would be “surprised” about the Brexit Party’s success if Britons are forced to vote in the poll at the end of May. The Prime Minister is expected to try to bring her Brexit agreement back to the House of Commons before the end of May to try to avoid the UK taking part in European elections.

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