Business leaders in Coventry and Warwickshire have vowed to ‘make Brexit work’ despite fears as Brexit gets underway.
The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce launched a Brexit Club to prepare companies for the UK’s exit which will formally begin on Wednesday (March 29) when Teresa May triggers Article 50.
The chamber unveiled a manifesto for exiting the EU at its Business & Trade Expo where Alan Durham, who is leading the chamber’s work on Brexit, was a key speaker.
Mr Durham claimed business was being practical rather than political in its demands to government, and revealed a helpline for companies was launched on the day the nation’s fate was revealed.
The chamber will still hold the government to account by continuing to make representations to ministers on Brexit as they look for answers to a range of questions.
Mr Durham said: “As a Chamber, we are here to put those questions to minister and to help Whitehall understand what the issues are- trade, labour, EU funding, regulation & taxation and customs.
“Will there still be free and frictionless trade with the EU once Brexit has happened? Will a hotelier still be free to bring in staff from the EU or risk not being able to fill vacancies? These are the very practical questions that we will continue to ask government and continue to press home as they negotiate our exit.”
The council’s head of economic development team Dave Ayton-Hill, who presented at the event, said there had been some positive signs since the referendum but admitted that the future was still uncertain.
He added: “None of us know what the deal is going to look like and, therefore, we cannot be certain about the future.
“However, we do know that the decision to leave the EU has caused the pound to be devalued and has, therefore, caused inflationary pressures which make imports, energy and food more expensive.
“However, in the short term, it is good news for exporters because it makes our goods and services more competitive overseas.
“It will remain a concern until we know what the deal is but, at this stage, it is holding up.”