Brexit: Leaving Europe 'is not the end of the world' says Shropshire boss

Britain's historic decision to exit the EU will be felt most strongly among exporting businesses, says the boss of a Shropshire freight firm – but she added that "it's not the end of the world".

Christopher Greenough, director of Salop Design in Shrewsbury, with the roof-based solar farm
Christopher Greenough, director of Salop Design in Shrewsbury, with the roof-based solar farm

Following the Brexit vote in yesterday's referendum, business leaders have warned that firms could hold back on rolling out their growth and investment plans, and may be facing "tough times" in the short term.

However, the feeling among businesses remains that the outcome ends the period of uncertainty ahead of the referendum, and that the long-term effect could still be positive.

Nicole Gunter, managing director of Telford-headquartered shipping company Global Freight, said: "Businesses hate uncertainty and we have all seen the effects of that in recent months as production has slowed down amid a nervousness over the outcome of the Brexit vote.

"Although it will take some time for a new way of working for the UK to emerge, at least now the air is clear and businesses can focus on their plans in this new era.

"Britain has voted and this is not the end of the world. We will gain in some areas and lose in others – but potentially for exporting businesses, that loss will be felt more keenly."

Stuart Rea, who sits on the steering group of the Shropshire Business Partnership and is head of corporate law at FBC Manby Bowdler in Shropshire, said businesses had been wrestling with uncertainty for some time ahead of the vote.

"There has been some reluctance by many firms to invest while this referendum was looming over them and the outcome remained uncertain," he said.

"Unfortunately this result will not resolve that uncertainly for some time to come as new trade arrangements have to be negotiated and the fallout of the decision on the wider economy and society makes itself known.

"Research by the EEF had shown that 70 per cent of members believed that remaining in the EU was important (50 per cent) or business critical (20 per cent) for their company.

"So there will be a lot of Shropshire business leaders who will be highly concerned at this result and it is likely they will continue to watch and wait."

Christopher Greenough, director of Salop Design and president of the Made In The Midlands manufacturing body, said immigration had been a cornerstone of the Brexit campaign, and that would now be felt in the after-effects.

"Boris Johnson was very clear that immigration was key to his campaign, and we will now be in control and able to check who is entering the country, and why they are coming to our shores," he said.

"It also means we now have a firm economic plan, that brings back the money that we have been spending with Europe, and we can make better use of this, spending it on our own services and unlocking potential here in our country.

"There will be tough times ahead, but we can once again be a stronger country and we have taken back the control that allows us to decide our own destiny.

"But, what he needs to do very quickly is unite the party, pull together and make sure that we have a united and strong leadership for the future. We can make this EU referendum decision the start of something that makes our country the world leader we know we are."

While some face uncertainty following the result, Chris Pallett, managing director of IT specialist Bespoke Computing in Telford, said the result did not change his plans.

"Data, and data security for businesses, knows no borders and that means it is business as usual as far as we are concerned," said Mr Pallett. "The hackers and the spammers out there couldn't care less whether we're in or out – they're still knocking on the virtual door."

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