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Europe has agreed a ‘flexible extension’ for the UK until the autumn, with a meeting scheduled in June to review progress.
Jane Imrie

Business leaders react to Article 50 ‘flextension’

Businesses have been given more time to formulate Brexit plans as Article 50 is extended until October 31.

Europe has agreed a ‘flexible extension’ for the UK until the autumn, with a meeting scheduled in June to review progress.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has welcomed news of the ‘flextension’, but warns against complacency, saying: “businesses will today be adjusting their no deal plans, not cancelling them”.

British Chambers of Commerce director general, Dr Adam Marshall, said: “For most businesses, the ‘flextension’ agreed by the European Council will be preferable to deadlines that are repeatedly moved forward at the last possible moment.”

He added that business’ “frustration with this seemingly endless political process is palpable. This extension buys Parliament some time to come to a consensus, but they can’t afford to squander it.”

This message echoes the words of President of the European Council Donald Tusk. In a press conference in the early hours of this morning he advised the UK: “Please do not waste this time.”

While businesses now have more time to plan their Brexit strategies, business leaders feel that the onus is on the government to make the most of the extension and put suitable plans in place ahead of the deadline.

CBI director-general, Carolyn Fairbairn, explained: “This new extension means that an imminent economic crisis has been averted, but it needs to mark a fresh start. More of the same will just mean more chaos this autumn.

“For the good of jobs and communities across the country, all political leaders must use the time well. Sincere cross-party collaboration must happen now to end this crisis.”

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