Carolyn Fairbairn

The bill passed by the House of Commons yesterday (Wednesday) designed to prevent a no-deal Brexit has provided a “chink of light” to businesses across the UK, the head of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has said. 

Speaking to the BBC, Carolyn Fairbairn indicated that the bill, which government confirmed pass through the House of Lords on Friday, gives businesses hope that a damaging no-deal Brexit would not take place, but stressed that the “cloud has not gone away”.

Parliament voted by a majority of 327 to 299 to pass the bill which gives Prime Minister Boris Johnson until 19 October to agree a deal with the EU or win support in the House for a no-deal, otherwise, he will be forced to seek an extension from the EU until at least 31 January 2020.

Ms Fairbairn, who in her position as the head one of the UK’s largest and most influential business lobby groups, did say that businesses will still need to prepare for a no-deal.

She said: “So many businesses are stockpiling for 31 October in the same way they did for 29 March at enormous cost and expense.

“It’s so wasteful and I think they will have to continue to do that until they know otherwise.

“And I think more and more are deeply concerned about the long-term effect on their competitiveness; they are seeing a loss of market share internationally that is very hard to claw back.”

The CBI has consistently argued against a no-deal, warning that securing a deal is essential in order to protect the economy and people’s jobs.