ON THE first day of the Conservative Party Conference, Prime Minister Theresa May (pictured) announced that she would be invoking Article 50 – thus triggering the start of the UK’s departure from the EU – by March 2017.
Brexit is not a surprise following June’s vote, but confirmation of the deadline and inferences that this could be a ‘hard Brexit’ have sent business and industry into a tailspin.
“Let the negotiation games begin,” said Richard Muirhead, London-based general partner at technology venture capital firm Open Ocean.
“This announcement of when Article 50 will be triggered allows the UK digital industry to move forward with more clarity but perhaps no more certainty. We now know a probable Brexit date, but we still don’t know what the full effects might be.”
Muirhead thinks Brexit will weaken the UK’s negotiating power with the rest of the world, but is confident in the resilience of the fintech sector.
“EU tech companies have long been operating and built in a distributed fashion – developers in the Baltics and a head office in London, for example,” he said. “What remains certain is that the digital bonds the UK’s startup community has across Europe will not be easily broken.
“Our digital economy will continue to operate across borders and we will seek worthy exceptions to immigrate and emigrate talent where required.”
The markets appear less confident than Muirhead however, following confirmation that Brexit will mean Brexit by next March. Sterling fell to a three-year low against the euro on Tuesday morning.