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21.05.2019 15:21

UK firms likely to scrap planned investment on a no-deal Brexit - BoE's Broadbent

British companies are likely to cancel projects that they have put on hold because of Brexit uncertainty if the country leaves the European Union without a deal to smooth the shock, Bank of England Deputy Governor Ben Broadbent said.

Business investment fell throughout 2018 as companies waited for clarity on the terms of Brexit and grew only slightly early this year, a situation Broadbent described as "remarkable" given the economy was still growing and company profits were high.

Some Brexit supporters have said Britain should leave the EU now with no agreement, as businesses would at least know they would have to revert to trade on World Trade Organisation terms.

But Broadbent said surveys showed companies viewed this scenario as the most negative of all. "It would be wrong to conclude ... that the best thing for investment is to resolve this uncertainty as soon as you can, by any means necessary," Broadbent said.

"Deliberately choosing the outcome firms say they view most negatively is more likely to mean that capital projects that have so far been deferred are then simply cancelled," he said.


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