Hard Brexit risky but unlikely to cause recession, C&W Chamber conference to be told

Mark Berrisford-Smith, Head of Economics for HSBC Commercial Banking

A ‘hard’ Brexit is risky for business, a leading economist will warn at a conference in Coventry.

But Mark Berrisford-Smith, Head of Economics for HSBC Commercial Banking, will tell the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Economic Conference on October 14 that recession will almost certainly be avoided.

Mark Berrisford-Smith is one of the keynote speakers alongside Michael Portillo and Kevin Byrne (Checkatrade) at the event at the Ricoh Arena.

The event, which is being sponsored by HSBC, Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP), Simplify IT, WarwickNet, Coventry University and Coventry University Enterprises, will have a Go For Growth theme running through it and will also include contributions from MP Marcus Jones and Jonathan Browning, the chair of the CWLEP.

Mark Berrisford-Smith said: “The British economy has displayed remarkable resilience in the aftermath of the referendum on EU membership. Indeed, the surveys of business and consumer sentiment are now back to where they stood before the vote in June, and in some cases are even higher.

“It’s therefore clear that the economy hasn’t plunged off a cliff, nor is it about to. In particular, the Bank of England will need to revise its economic forecasts, which had anticipated that the pace of economic growth would more or less stall during the second half of the year.

“Yet this is just the calm before the squalls that will inevitably blow in as the economic and political ramifications of Brexit become apparent.

“A downturn in spending on capital projects by businesses will start to drag on growth in the months ahead, while next year is likely to bring pressure on consumers’ spending power, as the weaker pound feeds through to rising inflation.

“A recession is highly unlikely, but a noticeable slowdown is nonetheless on the cards for 2017.

“Moreover, with the Government appearing to be favouring a harder, rather than a softer Brexit, there are clear risks that the process will be longer, more complicated, and more risky.”

David Burbidge, who is leading Coventry’s bid to be UK City of Culture, will also be speaking while the event will be facilitated by Adam Dent, of Advent Communications.