Redbridge business expert warns UK ‘will have to accept people from EU’ and could have worse deal in long run
- Credit: PA
A Redbridge business leader has said the UK “will have to accept people from the EU” in any future free trade deals.
Geoff Hill, chairman of Redbridge Chamber of Commerce, said he expected the price of fuel to surge and to see a rise in interest rates.
He also warned that the “degree of uncertainty” may affect businesses in the borough if rising prices stop people spending money.
He said: “It’s not a simple picture. Anyone who thought it would be has probably been a little bit misinformed, especially on immigration.”
Mr Hill said whatever trade deal is now made with the EU would be “tough”.
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“The indications are that it’s not going to be a sweetheart deal, it’s going to be a tough deal,” he said.
“They don’t want to encourage other people to do it.
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“I would also be surprised if we didn’t have to pay in a significant amount to be part of a free trade area.
“In effect, it’s possible that what we’ve done is given ourselves a worse deal in the long run.”
He said while inflation would be good for exports in the short term, in the long term it would make importing raw goods more expensive.
“If people start to feel a little bit worried about leaving, there will probably be more caution about spending money,” he said.
“If people stop spending money than the people who trade in Redbridge might find they are not going to make so much money.
“We’ve also got this situation where the promises that were made about the economy, at least one significant political figure is back tracking.”
He also warned that the regeneration of Ilford could be affected if financial services decide to pull out of the city and move more workers to Europe.
“Financial services are one of the great powerhouses of our economy,” he said.
“If people start to move jobs to Europe, that means there will be fewer people in the city that might want to live in the flats in Redbridge.”
But he said there could be some positive results,
“We are not going to disappear down the plug hole,” he said.
“It may push up wages, it may not. If wages go up than that tends to fuel inflation a bit as well.
“I think there are people from the EU who may be worried and think my future may not be in this country.
“There may be lots of businesses that use such workers who find they are scarce.
“A lot of people are frightened by immigration. There are lots of people who have a view of a Great Britain which was a significantly long time ago.
“We didn’t join the EU in the first place because we were really strong and didn’t need them, we joined because it was to our benefit.”