Brexit: What Happens Now?

With Theresa May suffering a record-breaking defeat in the Commons before seeing off a no-confidence vote, we're left with one question: what happens now?

16 January 2019

The most pressing concern is the increased possibility of a no-deal Brexit. But we’re not ones for doom-mongery. Parliament – and perhaps ultimately, the UK public – has the power to ensure this does not happen. MPs must act with responsibility, working across political and social divides to find a compromise that considers the concerns of both the 52% and 48%. We need more listening and less shouting. This can, and must, be done.

UK businesses have been admirably bold and resilient throughout these negotiations, recognising the value of investing in their brands during times of uncertainty. This has been reflected in the general stability of the UK advertising industry, with forecasts for the next financial year again suggesting that marketing budgets on the whole will remain steady. There is, however, a split, with the latest IPA Bellwether report showing that 27% of marketers foresee an increase in their spending for 2019/20, while 26% expect cuts.

This fragmentation is understandable given the current March 29 deadline for exiting the EU. Yet now is not the time to shrink back. For businesses to continue thriving, they need to work even harder on building their brand. Consumers will likely be thriftier in their spending and more diligent in their purchase considerations. With others showing hesitancy, the companies that act decisively and refuse to stand still will be the ones that find a home on this altered landscape.

Anyone could be forgiven, of course, for feeling a little cagey. This brings us back to the Government, and its duty to work with openness and conviction to find a solution we can all be confident in. This should include taking a no-deal scenario off the table, along with a reconsideration of May’s highly-publicised ‘red lines’ and the pursuit of an extension to Article 50.

All possibilities need to be explored, including a second referendum. To have one would not constitute the undermining of democracy, but instead reinforce it, giving people a final say on the terms of withdrawal and some impetus for a Government that looks unsure of its next step.

The UK will continue to show its mettle during this enduring uncertainty. People will continue to buy gifts, go on holiday, shop for food, insure their goods and purchase new outfits. Meanwhile, businesses will continue to reach them in new and innovative ways, aided by media agencies thinking a little differently to extract the maximum value for their clients.

 Over to you, Westminster.

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