Brexit: threat or opportunity for associations?
22 November 2017
Posted by: Katie Spackman
As the Government’s Brexit negotiations continue to make slow progress, associations are grappling with the potential implications and opportunities of leaving the EU.
Benefits, such as not contributing to the EU budget, are off-set by uncertainties over transitional arrangements and whether cross border trade will be tariff free, avoid customs delays and increase bureaucracy. Citizens' rights, jobs and the border in Northern Ireland are also subject to negotiation.
Associations must listen to members and identify their priorities which will include:
Free movement of labour
After March 2019 EU workers moving to the UK will have to register until a permanent post-Brexit immigration policy is in place.
Hiring and retaining staff is a challenge for membership bodies. The Institute of Hospitality says 93% of employers struggle to recruit new staff and 58% are expecting hiring to be harder after Brexit.
There are plans for a post-Brexit trade and customs policy that will benefit from the World Trade Organisation’s Government procurement agreement, although the UK’s future trade relationship with the EU single market is still uncertain.
This affects organisations like the Scotch Whisky Association. Scotch whisky is the single biggest net contributor to the UK’s balance of trade in goods and around a third of scotch whisky exports go to the EU.
Tips for preparing for Brexit?
- check association statutes, membership criteria and qualifications comply with the new environment. Look for solutions that benefit both the UK and the EU.
- talk to members and other key stakeholders to assess how trading relationships can continue.
- collaborate with organisations and professional institutions in your sector and other business sectors and lobby the UK government and EU to defend and promote member interests.
- Check out regulatory and licensing approval needed for operating in EU and EEA countries - and help ensure the UK remains a good place to do business.
More Brexit advice will be on offer at the www.associationscongress.co.uk in December.