Monday 26 September 2016

The Brits have a Brexit strategy. Where's ours?

Published 03/08/2016 | 02:30

British PM Theresa May. Photo: AFP/Getty
British PM Theresa May. Photo: AFP/Getty

The British cabinet is currently in bunker mode, working on a retro-fit for the economy to make sure that it can absorb the post-Brexit aftershocks. Prime Minister Theresa May is framing a detailed strategy. No economy is more susceptible to the fall-out than our own - but what is our Government doing to insulate us? The Dáil is gone on extended leave.

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Ibec has issued a stark warning about a full-blown currency crisis. Its call for an urgent, targeted national response cannot be ignored. Our exporters to the UK are already 15pc less competitive - and all the indications are that this could get considerably worse. According to Ibec policy director Fergal O'Brien, the threat could cost us hundreds of millions of euros worth of exports and thousands of Irish jobs. Britain has a plunging pound and the prospect of fine-tuning interest rates as it sees fit.

A survey by Ibec of more than 450 Irish businesses also reflects the intense pressure on exporters since the UK pull-out vote. Some 45pc of those surveyed said the drop in the value of the pound was the main threat. Ibec suggests that funds be put in place to protect enterprise and employment for firms in the eye of the storm. Clearly, the focus must be on keeping costs down. In Brussels, we must also make sure that we are doing all we can to win vital exemptions to EU state aid curbs - so our Government can keep in step with the assistance doled out to UK-based manufacturers. Work on a fully 'Brexit-proofed' Budget addressing all these issues cannot be delayed.

Irish Independent

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