Brexit news: Raab HITS BACK at John Lewis boss BLAMING withdrawal for bad profits | UK | News

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The Secretary said it was “easy to blame Brexit” for a collapse in profits rather than “taking responsibility for their own situation”.

John Lewis boss Sir Charles Mayfield claimed half-year profits had dropped down 98.8 percent because of “challenging times” affecting forecasts.

But told the Today programme: “I think it’s probably rather easy at this moment in time for any business that isn’t doing rather well to point to Brexit but let me just give you the facts.

“This week we had economic growth accelerating, we’ve had real wages accelerating, we have had the anglo-dutch business information company revise its structure to be quartered in the UK. So actually we have got positive news on the economy this week. Inflation has come down 2.5 percent, some people said it would hit four percent.”

Mr Raab agreed that the uncertainty of the ongoing negotiations could ultimately influence business but reiterated the British Government is striving to secure a deal to minimise disruption.

He continued: “I don’t doubt that some of the uncertainty around these negotiations will have an impact on business. That’s why we are putting all our energy into the good deal we want with our good friends and partners, at the same time making sure we manage the risks if this doesn’t happen.

“All I’m saying is that it is rather easy for business to blame Brexit and the politicians rather than to take responsibility for their own situation.”

The Brexit Secretary also revealed the Government is not planning to pay the agreed £40 billion withdrawal deal to the European Union unless an agreement on the future relationship is reached at the end of the negotiations in November. 

Mr Raab said Britain would still meet its “legal obligations” to the bloc but that the amounts paid would ultimately be “significantly, substantially lower.”

He added: “It’s not a threat, it’s statement of fact as part of our no-deal planning that, yes, we would be mindful of our strict legal obligations, but the amount and the phased way it is set out in the withdrawal agreement would fall away because there would be no deal.

“It’s not a threat and it’s not an ultimatum, it’s a statement of fact. I don’t say anything outside of the negotiation room that I haven’t and wouldn’t directly to our EU friends and partners, and I think it is well understood on both sides.”

Mr Raab’s Whitehall department will release around 30 technical notices more setting out measures the Government, businesses and households should take to be ready for the outcome.

The papers will cover mobile phone roaming charges, environmental protection and vehicle standards.

Ahead of the release of the documents, the Tory Cabinet minister said last night: “With six months to go until the UK leaves the European Union, we are stepping up our ‘no deal’ preparations so that Britain can continue to flourish, regardless of the outcome of negotiations.

“These technical notices are part and parcel of our sensible, pragmatic approach to preparing for all outcomes.

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