Colin’s updated thoughts on Brexit

Article originally published by Fleet News 30 September 2019

We are in the vortex of a national crisis. Actually, crises.

* Constitutional – can the PM refuse a direct instruction from Parliament?

* Democratic – which should prevail, the will of the people or the will of their parliamentary representatives?

* Economic – no one seems to know how bad things will be when we leave the EU, (with or without a deal).

* Social – there has been a sharp increase in antisocial behaviour (racism in particular).

* Political – have we ever seen so many disaffected MPs?

This is a particularly British crisis. No riots, no petrol bombs, no tanks on the streets. Perhaps we should be thankful for such small mercies.

Many businesses have yet to assess how leaving the EU will affect them, deal or no deal. Fleet managers are wondering what to do next. Frankly, they have already had a pretty bad year, dealing with the impact of WLTP, sharply rising BIK rates and employers wondering whether to bail out of their company cars and take cash instead.

In the past few months, I’ve found myself giving a piece of advice to managers I’ve rarely given in 40 years in fleet: wait and see what happens. We don’t know if there will be a deal and have no idea what shade of government we’ll see if/when there is a general election.

It seems to me that some of Labour’s policies are a long way from business-friendly. Would a Labour government lead to a reduction in business investment and economic activity? And, if so, how might that affect your business?

The Liberal Democrats are riding high in the polls. They would campaign to hold another referendum and remain in the EU. Would that mean business as usual?

The Conservatives want out, but would they really leave without a deal?

And can any party win a majority?

Waiting and seeing is not the same as doing nothing. There is a lot to do. ACFO’s call for fleets to prepare a disaster recovery plan is spot on. A no deal Brexit will lead to disruption, delays, price hikes and some shortages. We need to hope for the best, plan for the worst and stay flexible. Now is a very good time to delay vehicle replacements.