Brexit – our long goodbye to union with Europe
As I write this article, United Kingdom government ministers are attempting to agree in principle a Brexit ‘divorce’ settlement with the European Union and, according to recent reports, it seems an agreement may have been reached that could pave the way for Britain to pay an exit bill of between €45 billion and €55 billion.
This year has been an historically unusual year for the UK, both politically and financially. Inflation has increased throughout the year, driven primarily by a weakness in Sterling resulting from Brexit uncertainties. The Bank of England’s October decision to raise interest rates from their historic low of 0.25 per cent to 0.5 per cent is likely to do very little in the short term to alleviate rising inflation and continued pressure on the cost of consumer goods.
It has also been widely publicised that the Chancellor’s autumn base rate rise was rapidly carried through to mortgage products, although it has not generally been reflected in savings products – the interest rates offered to bank and building society savers remain largely unchanged.
Formal agreement on the terms of our Brexit divorce bill is of vital importance in enabling the talks to go ahead between the UK and the rest of the EU that will shape arrangements for mutual trading in the future. In turn, agreement on future trade arrangements is likely to lead to increased certainty for business and translate into heightened investor confidence.
Of course, at this stage we are still facing many unknowns on the path to our formal departure from the EU, which is scheduled to take place at 11pm on Friday 29 March 2019, and the road that lies ahead is likely to be bumpy at times. Investors should proceed with caution and seek advice from experienced and fully-qualified financial professionals before taking action.
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