Norfolk business bosses call for government Brexit plan

Caroline Williams, CEO of Norfolk Chamber of Commerce ANL-160121-140045001

Caroline Williams, CEO of Norfolk Chamber of Commerce ANL-160121-140045001

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Business leaders have called on the government to work out how they plan to support the economy in the wake of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

Officials from the county’s Chamber of Commerce say their members are continuing to report trade as normal.

But they say firms have put major investment decisions on hold, because of the uncertainty generated by last Friday’s referendum result.

The chamber’s chief executive, Caroline Williams, said: “Norfolk business will want to see a detailed plan to support the economy during the coming transition period.

“Confidence, investment, hiring and growth would all be deeply affected by a prolonged period of uncertainty.

“If ever there were a time to ditch the straight-jacket of fiscal rules for investment in a better business infrastructure, this is it.

“Businesses need action to maintain economic stability, a timeline for exit, and answers to their many practical, real-world questions about doing business during and after this historic transition.

“We will be working with local MPs and leaders to ensure that Norfolk business interests are taken into account.

“We will support our members as we all work through the issues and opportunities which may arise over the coming weeks and months.”

She added: “Our members are reporting on one hand it is business as usual but are also admitting that they have put on hold, where possible, any immediate investment decisions.

“Although sterling has dropped, Brexit has caused global economic repercussions, so many markets are currently flat.

“National decisions relating to major investments needs to be confirmed as soon as possible.”

Ms Williams also urged company bosses to be vigilant over signs of tension between staff who were on opposing sides of the debate.

She said: “Within some organisations there is friction between the Leave and Remain voters.

“All businesses need to ensure that their staff understand the risk of what can be seen as racist comments on social media.

“Businesses need to check that they have the correct policies in place in case of formal complaints.”