Brexit Day: What businesses in Portsmouth think will happen next

BREXIT has been the word on the mouths of many business owners, with much uncertainty around how the UK’s departure from the EU will affect their business.

Friday, 31st January 2020, 8:52 am

Portsmouth is home to hundreds of independent businesses, many of which trade within the EU .

Ross McNally, CEO of the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce said that the changes that will come with the departure could have a positive effect on businesses in the region, causing them to form new relationships and make important reviews.

He said: ‘Brexit day has been a long time coming and now it’s here, due to the transition period, it may pass without too much noticeable impact. However for businesses planning over a number of years the change will provide challenges, but equally many new opportunities. The next six months could be just the right time to review strategies, set in motion new relationships and most importantly explore markets for your products and services. After all businesses thrive on change, and with the Chamber business network on hand, there is no reason why this isn’t exactly the right time to set new goals.’

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Ross McNally, Hampshire Chamber chief executive

Ian Brown, the managing director of engineering firm Industrial Maintenance Services, thinks the departure will have a positive effect on business.

The ex-chairman of Business for Britain South East said: ‘I think once we leave tomorrow there will be a surge of optimism. I think there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic.

‘I think that the down sides that we have been warned about will dissipate and business with Europe will continue as normal.

‘I don’t see why doing business with France and Germany will suffer. It’s just as easy for me to do business with companies in America or China.’

However, the CEO of a Portsmouth firm that helps EU students and professionals come to the UK to do work experience says his business has an uncertain future thanks to Brexit.

Raja Ali from IBD Partnership said: ‘For us, as a small business, it has had a negative impact. We’ve made people redundant, we‘ve seen a 50 per cent drop in our business.

‘Small businesses are doomed, we’re damned if we do, damned if we don’t. We’re not being able to plan because we don’t know what’s ahead.

‘We hope that it’s in the best interest and I hope that the people of Portsmouth don’t suffer.’