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Brexit: Referendum results, reality and reform

David Fenn

30 June 2016

Whether expected or not, supported or opposed, a majority of voters in the United Kingdom have now voted for the UK to leave the EU with the Remain campaign obtaining 48% of the vote and the Leave campaign 52% of the vote on a 72.2% turnout.

Watching the news over the past few days, it is obvious that not everyone wanted the same outcome. There is division within the United Kingdom as Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain along with London, whilst the will to leave the EU won through in every other region. Here in the South East of the UK, there was a 48.2% in favour of remaining. The rest of the country increasingly voted to leave the EU with the vote in the West Midlands returning 59.3% for “Leave”.  The democratic process has spoken.

Keep calm and carry on

Procedure requires the UK to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to leave the EU, which then allows for two years for withdrawal to be negotiated, but what really happens next remains to be seen.

Clearly it is early days. A period of calm and a collective look at the future as a new opportunity, rather than a challenge, is required.  It would be all too easy to turn the uncertainty that Brexit brings into a major obstacle for business and personal wealth alike. However, with careful reflection and consideration of the challenges ahead, new opportunities can be identified and doubtless lie beyond with continued economic well-being.

Change ahead for Britain

The UK is a diverse economy – commercial and industrial, financial and professional – opportunities abound across sectors and regions. As a result of the Brexit vote, there could be several changes on the way for businesses in the UK and how they trade with Europe and the rest of the world. The rules governing VAT are the most likely to be affected of all the taxes as any changes to VAT Law would no longer be bound by decisions of the European Court of Justice. We will also see the way we employ people both as EU nationals and those already working here in the UK change significantly as these rules and regulations were heavily governed by the EU.

Individual and personal taxes are likely to be altered too as the debate around immigration and inbound investment continues. Even taxes that are considered to be “UK taxes”, such as corporation tax, income tax and Capital Gains Tax, are not safe from reform following Brexit as there could be consequences lying in wait here as well.

Doing business for Britain

Business has a key part to play in the future and for its part, UK Government too now needs to deliver decisively to provide leadership to those businesses wanting to know what happens next. At the same time, Government needs to promote and defend UK interests strongly on the world stage whilst negotiating with the EU.

Business life may be different, but it goes on and in the global economy, the UK need be no less a player than it was and no less a business partner either; it may just be different. Trade with Europe will continue along with all continental trading.

Whilst possibly exiting the EU and closing one door another is wide open.  Corporate rates of taxation in the UK are increasingly attractive on the world stage, which together with developed laws and regulations, the UK is just as attractive for inward investment and headquartering.  The global economy will change, the UK economy will change, but how it will change, only time will tell. But, with careful thought, planning, and above all positive optimism and enthusiasm there is every reason to look for a continued thriving UK economy.

If you would like some further information about how the Brexit might affect you, your business or your personal tax circumstances, or you could benefit from an up-to-date tax plan going forward, then why not contact Wilkins Kennedy to see how we can help.

About David Fenn

David Fenn

David is the Managing Partner of Wilkins Kennedy, having previously served as Finance Partner. David initially trained at Wilkins Kennedy’s Southend office and was appointed Partner at the age of 26 and went on to build a large and varied client portfolio and he is now mainly based in the London office. David has a large and diverse client portfolio which spans many industries. However he enjoys particular expertise in the property and construction sector, supporting clients’ growth and longevity during often turbulent economic conditions.

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