U.K.'s Andrea Leadsom to Meet Businesses to Assess Brexit Preparedness

Alex Morales

(Bloomberg) -- Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom will meet with companies on Thursday to assess preparedness for the U.K.’s departure from the European Union.

Executives at nine companies including the business services firms Deloitte and EY and engineers Arup Group have been invited to Leadsom’s office in Westminster for a morning roundtable, the business department said in a statement, noting it will be the sixth such meeting hosted by Leadsom.

While Leadsom aims to give reassurances to businesses as the U.K. prepares to exit a trading bloc of 500 million consumers, she also wants to hear how they’re preparing for Brexit.

The meeting comes as huge uncertainty surrounds when Britain will leave the bloc. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised to deliver Brexit “do or die” and without a deal if necessary on Oct. 31, but Parliament has passed legislation forcing him to seek an extension if he hasn’t secured a new deal by Oct. 19.

That represents an organizational headache for companies currently preparing for a third Brexit date after the two earlier deadlines were pushed back.

“Today’s meeting is to discuss both the opportunities and concerns facing business and to help them get ready for Brexit,” Leadsom said in a statement. “My number one priority is ensuring businesses get ready.”

The government has stepped up preparations for a no-deal departure, and is also trying to smooth out the process for companies -- particularly small and medium-sized ones -- that don’t have the planning capacity or financial firepower to prepare for every scenario.

That includes the automatic enrollment of exporters in a key customs system so they can trade with the European Union after Brexit.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Morales in London at amorales2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net, Thomas Penny, Stuart Biggs

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