How are you preparing for the risks of Brexit?

A lot has been said about the risks to the UK economy as a whole posed by Brexit. There is little you or I can do to mitigate those, apart from lobbying our Members of Parliament. As to the risks to individual businesses, it is hard to say much, because of the uncertainty.

  • Will we get a hard or soft Brexit?
  • Will we get trade deals with other countries?
  • Will EU funding be replaced 100% by UK Government funding?
  • Will EU regulations be scrapped?

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to begin to evaluate and then manage the risks to your business.

  • Do you export to the EU? If so, could you begin looking at other markets, even before we get new trade deals?
  • Do you import from the EU? If so, can you source supplies from elsewhere? Can you produce the relevant goods or services in-house?
  • Do you rely on EU migrant labour, either seasonally or permanently? If so, could you train British or non-EU workers to do the jobs?
  • Can you compete on quality rather than cost? If so, tariffs may be less harmful to your business. How about improving quality now?

One risk to beware of, is the temptation to expect all EU regulations to be abolished in the near future. They might be retained. Many people will consider some or many of them as desirable anyway. Think of

  • Health and Safety
  • Quality
  • The Environment
  • Working conditions

Even if we think some are a bit over the top, as some are bound to be, do not forget that to trade with the EU, even post-Brexit, we will need to comply with most of them. Think too that non-EU countries might prefer to buy from people who maintain EU standards on certain things. So, if the UK Government scraps some of these regulations, think carefully whether you would be better off maintaining those standards before you scrap them. Think babies and bathwater.

Do you need a bespoke consultation on how to meet the risks to your particular business?

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Some Risks of Brexit I had not thought of.

I have written before about the risks of Brexit. I have always believed that there were also opportunities. Everything would depend on the deal we got. I hope we do not fall off the cliff, as some would like.

Whatever happens in the end, there are issues arising from the process itself that I had not thought of, but I am now very concerned about.

Risk Dice

The Risk to Government.

Brexit is taking up so much attention in Westminster and Whitehall, as well as in the media, that other issues are being ignored, or at least given far less attention than they deserve. This is likely to get worse rather than better for several years.

The Risk to Foreign Relations.

I do not believe all the hype from both our government and from the Continent. I am more concerned at the effect on ordinary people, here and abroad, of hearing all the rhetoric in the press and on social media. The loudest and rudest voices are likely to be remembered most. There is a danger of poisoning attitudes towards Britain among continental Europeans and even among people in other countries.

The anti-immigration lobby and the debate about EU citizens already in the UK is creating fear and a feeling of being unwelcome among many.  It will probably make recruitment overseas more difficult. And whatever happens, we will need foreign workers to fill many jobs for a long time.

The Risk to Democracy.

The Hard Brexit lobby have been claiming an irrevocable and unchallengeable mandate from the British people. Judges have been called ‘enemies of the people’ and every attempt to maintain any of the benefits of EU membership are claimed to be defying this all-powerful mandate. MPs and lords who want to debate any aspect of the outcome or the process are called ‘remoaners’.

Just a minute! Only 52% of those who voted in the Referendum voted Leave. Do the other 48% have no right to criticise any aspect of Brexit?

I addition to that 48% you might like to think how many people voted Leave

  • Because they believed we could still maintain substantial access to the Single Market
  • Because they believed there would be 350 million pounds a week for the NHS
  • Because they wanted to make a protest but never expected it to result in actually leaving
  • Because the Remain campaign was so badly fought, making ludicrous claims.

If you make some allowance for any or all of the above, you might find the mandate for Leave is a bit thin.

What I am concerned about is that the Referendum result has been used as an argument to outweigh everything else. The job of MPs and ministers is to consider the detail of an issue, not just the soundbites. That job is being made almost impossible by the ‘will of the people’ argument.

So what about your business?

When you consider the risks in connection with any proposed change, do you include the risks the process of change will create, regardless of the costs and benefits of the final outcome?

  • How will your clients, employees or other stakeholders be affected by the transition as well as by the resulting change?
  • What effect will the process have on you?

Are there benefits as well as costs?

  • Could you make the process a happy experience?
  • Could consulting your clients and employees make them feel valued?
  • Will they own the decision in the end?
  • Is it an opportunity to bring in other changes you have had to defer?

If you are not sure, how about a Risk Management consultation on the process, even if you think you do not need one on the change itself?

Who needs to study Maths? Or English?

I have heard that there is a controversy over the failure of many young people to obtain satisfactory grades in GCSE Maths and English.

This has caused quite a lot of anxiety.

  • Some schools and colleges are worried about their lack of success.
  • Many students are worried that failure in Maths or English will be an obstacle to their studying other subjects. (Since 2013, students are required to resit their exams in these two subjects before progressing.)
  • Many employers are worried about the lack of skilled and qualified workers.

There have been various comments on this.

  • Some say the Government has set the bar too high.
  • Others say teaching standards or methods should be reviewed.
  • Still others ask why this obsession with these two subjects.

As I have an Accountancy qualification and do a lot of writing, you could rightly guess that I usually did quite well in those two subjects I have even written a book about Statistics: go to  and might be unsympathetic to those who are unsuccessful. After all, so


I know we are not all the same. There are many things I am not good at, and I am glad they were not essential. Never mind what: there is not enough time to list everything.

  • Many people have no desire to go into further education.
  • Some are creative rather than analytical.
  • Some are practical rather than academic.

Should everyone be forced into the same mould?

  • Unfortunately for some, maths is the basis for all scientific study: physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, medicine, engineering. A lack of basic maths really does make it almost impossible to understand any of these.
  • Maths is also the basis for finance, economics, insurance, investment, and of course statistics. If you want to understand money, you need a certain amount of maths.
  • Even if you are practical, rather than academic, you will find maths comes into it if you want to understand how things work.

As for English, we all need to communicate.

  • It helps influence others.
  • It reduces misunderstandings.
  • It enables you to explain yourself.

I think there needs to be a different approach to teaching these two subjects that works for the less academic student. I do not say the less intelligent. Some people’s minds work differently from others. Teaching should not aim to help only one kind.

I care about this because we need to see every student achieve his or her potential in whatever field is right for them. That will benefit all of us.

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