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Brexit: Trick or Treat?

As the UK enters the final stage of its journey to leave the EU, Chris Dillow and Neil Wilson look at the possible impact of Brexit on listed companies and the economy generally
Brexit: Trick or Treat?

After more than three years of political wrangling, rejected deals and countless hurdles, the UK has finally reached the EU departure gates, and is waiting, bags packed, for those barriers to lift. At the time of writing, it looks unlikely that, after the timetable for his withdrawal bill was voted down in Parliament, prime minister Boris Johnson will achieve his goal of hauling the country over the line on Halloween. The big question now is over the length of extension granted by the EU, and pragmatism may prevail – a long extension increases the risk of a general election followed by no-deal, which is why some – like France – are advocating a short or flexible ‘technical’ extension to give the prime minister the parliamentary time to get his deal over the line. Throughout the whole long, drawn-out process, Brexiteers and Remainers have found little common ground, but if there is one thing they can now agree on, it’s that Brexit has been a frustrating and draining experience and progress would be welcome.

That's a view shared not just by politicians and voters but by businesses too. For many, their only wish now is to finally move to the next phase so they can secure clarity over what the future holds. And for investors in UK plc, the big question now is how will companies fare in a post-Brexit world? Will Brexit prove to be the treat that keeps on giving, or a terrible trick that will cost us all dear?


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