back to article Softcat warns of Brexit cloud forming over UK tech, vows: If prices rise, we'll pass them on...

Though the wheels keep rolling at unstoppable reseller juggernaut Softcat, fuelled by a Windows 10 refresh and returning demand for servers, the CEO has voiced caution about the potential implications of Brexit. Sales for fiscal ’18 ended 31 July came in at £1.08bn, up 29.9 per cent on the year ago period, with software up 35. …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    F*ck business

    Is, I am assured, the correct Brexiteer response.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: F*ck business

      Lots of people talk the talk but the Brexiteers are showing they can walk that walk too.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: F*ck business

        the Brexiteers are showing they can walk that walk too.

        yeah, to the edge of the cliff.

    2. streaky
      FAIL

      Re: F*ck business

      Is, I am assured, the correct Brexiteer response.

      It is. Yes.

      At the risk of reading between the lines it's "fuck business abusing our market and using EU single market rules to not pay any tax then crying like babies when a country rejects their bullshit". But yes, fuck business.

      1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

        Re: F*ck business

        I'd be amazed if a lot of Brexit opinion was driven by considering the minimisation of tax, and if it is they're ill informed.

        It's pretty certain that the Tories will try and turn the UK into a tax haven, and elements of the party are eager to start winnowing human rights (such as reasonable working hours and conditions).

        There's already no enforcement of the huge number of LLPs in the UK, and the 'commitment' to investigate offshore firms ownership has already been downgraded to a consultation (go read Private Eye). We already know the UK government will screw over bits of the UK to gain business from the Americans or the Chinese.

        The EU are starting to crack down on tax, and there are stronger rules coming in. One persistent but probably untrue conspiracy theory is that senior Brexiteers forced Brexit so not to see their income hit. For maintaining tax revenue, staying in the EU is the best option.

  2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    There's always an excuse to increase prices, but...

    If price rises due to new tariffs or weakened sterling then we will see to pass them on as is normal for the industry.

    And if prices fall due to new tariffs or strengthened sterling, will they pass those on as well?

    No, thought not.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: There's always an excuse to increase prices, but...

      >prices fall due to new tariffs

      I'm not sure that negative tariffs on imports are strictly speaking "tariffs". I think the word you are looking for is subsidies

      >or strengthened sterling

      If splitting off all your export markets causes your currency to strengthen then we could do more of it.

      Build a wall around each county perhaps ?

      1. Spazturtle Silver badge

        Re: There's always an excuse to increase prices, but...

        "I'm not sure that negative tariffs on imports are strictly speaking "tariffs". I think the word you are looking for is subsidies"

        He meant if there is a reduction in tariffs which there likely will be. The EU single market has very high tariff on imports from outside the single market.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: There's always an excuse to increase prices, but...

          The EU single market has very high tariff on imports from outside the single market.

          Certain imports. particularly of agricultural products like bananas and sugar. For many other products there are not reallly that many alternatives and it's the non-tarriff barriers that are the real problem.

        2. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: There's always an excuse to increase prices, but...

          @ Spazturtle

          "He meant if there is a reduction in tariffs which there likely will be."

          Yet Another Anonymous coward understands, it just doesnt fit with his desire that brexit must be doom. I dont think he is as stupid as he pretends to be.

        3. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: There's always an excuse to increase prices, but...

          The EU single market has very high tariff on imports from outside the single market.

          Not true if you look into it. The EU has FTAs with over 60 countries. You might also find this interesting.

          1. Stuart 22 Silver badge

            Re: There's always an excuse to increase prices, but...

            Change in tariffs is only one issue. Sterling exchange rate is very much another. I think we can all do a pretty accurate forecast the direction of travel if there should be no-deal/bad-deal.

        4. streaky

          Re: There's always an excuse to increase prices, but...

          He meant if there is a reduction in tariffs which there likely will be. The EU single market has very high tariff on imports from outside the single market.

          More importantly the EU has started a trade war with both China and the US that we don't want anything to do with, ignoring the EU's pre-existing tariff regime. Tariffs *will* fall when we leave.

          I'm not going to talk about the GBP because there are way way too many people in the debate about brexit on all sides who don't have the slightest clue how currency markets work or what happens when the Eurozone comes off life support when the German economy that the entire setup relies on is taking a nose-dive whilst it's still on it.

          Back on topic: no, no they won't.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge
            WTF?

            Re: There's always an excuse to increase prices, but...

            The EU started a trade war with China and the US? When did that happen?

      2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: There's always an excuse to increase prices, but...

        I'm not sure that negative tariffs on imports are strictly speaking "tariffs".

        Who mentioned negative? I just said "reduced". WTO policy is for all tariffs to trend to zero in the long term.

        If splitting off all your export markets

        All? Since when did 27 out of 180+ countries count as "all"? Never mind that no-one has mentioned cutting off exports to the EU, the UK wouldn't want that. The EU might, I suppose.

        Anyway, my point wasn't to have another pro/anti Brexit argument, merely to point out that it makes a great reason to increase prices, but companies always find an excuse not to reduce them.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: There's always an excuse to increase prices, but...

          >All? Since when did 27 out of 180+ countries count as "all"?

          Remind me how many countries the UK has an independent trade deal with as of April 2019 ?

          We are still waiting to find out if our CE marking will be valid / what will replace it. But as a medical device manufacturer it is trivial to re-engineer all our testing / certification over a weekend at the end of march.

          1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

            Re: There's always an excuse to increase prices, but...

            "Remind me how many countries the UK has an independent trade deal with as of April 2019 ?"

            Err, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales?

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: There's always an excuse to increase prices, but...

            Remind me how many countries the UK has an independent trade deal with as of April 2019 ?

            Just over 40% of our exports and 35% of imports are governed by non-EU deals. About 12% are with non-EU countries but controlled by EU rules.

            1. localzuk Silver badge

              Re: There's always an excuse to increase prices, but...

              "Just over 40% of our exports and 35% of imports are governed by non-EU deals. About 12% are with non-EU countries but controlled by EU rules."

              The UK is unable to negotiate trade deals independent of the EU whilst part of the EU. So, the answer is "none". Its one of the main reasons brexiters have given for leaving!

              1. Dan 55 Silver badge

                Re: There's always an excuse to increase prices, but...

                Pretty conclusive map.

                How many years will it take to get the British version looking like that?

                1. John Mangan

                  Re: There's always an excuse to increase prices, but...

                  This is one of the things that winds me up. We have free trade with the EU and through that with all of these other countries. Outside of the group the total market size is tiny, really, really, tiny.

                  I can't work out, and no Brexiteer has managed to demonstrate, where all the boundless goodness is going to come from. Every analysis I've seen shows, at best, a break-even when (if) we work out similar trade deals ourselves with each of these nations individually. In the meantime.......

                  And then last night on PMQs I saw some mindless cretin asking who was going to build the hard-border infrastructure in Northern Ireland if there was no deal. Clearly not understanding that WE WILL if we don't want to remove all trade borders with the entire world (under WTO rules).

                  F@ck me, this is grim!

                  1. codejunky Silver badge

                    Re: There's always an excuse to increase prices, but...

                    @ John Mangan

                    "I can't work out, and no Brexiteer has managed to demonstrate, where all the boundless goodness is going to come from."

                    Brexiteers wont because what you ask is backwards. The EU tie our hands and bind our feet and represent us as 1 of 28 members, and you ask brexiters to demonstrate how we can compete on the obstacle course. Its like morons asking us to have trade deals before we have left, we are banned from signing any until we leave. You ask us to demonstrate what we are not permitted to demonstrate, that is not proof that we cant.

                    "Every analysis I've seen shows, at best, a break-even when (if) we work out similar trade deals ourselves with each of these nations individually"

                    Yeah these analysis are looking more and more amusing. Almost like the certainty of recession on the day of the vote leave result. As its from those who dont want to leave it isnt a shock. Yet by reducing tariffs from the EU's protectionist levels will reduce the cost of food, that is probably why the argument is amusingly now moving to 'food standards' without actually being about such.

                    "Clearly not understanding that WE WILL if we don't want to remove all trade borders with the entire world (under WTO rules)."

                    Not really. The UK doesnt want a border, NI and ROI dont want one, who is left? So if the EU want one they can make it. It is their problem that they choose to take on themselves. Under WTO rules we dont have to make a physical border.

                    Surely if we are concerned with trade we should be happy to get out of the trade wars of the EU and their high protectionist tariffs.

                    1. Giovani Tapini

                      Re: There's always an excuse to increase prices, but...

                      Having hands and feet tied by an organisation that we are on the "management" of suggests this is a bit overstated. In fact the UK has stopped or watered down some of the more, er, creative ideas floated.

                      Even if true, it does not answer the point you picked out which was, where is all the other bounty going to come from? Are we going to be in a better place economically? I very much doubt it. Can our manufacturers become so efficient and productive we shill ship product halfway round the globe and still be an attractive prospect? I doubt it. Services also don't necessarily transport well over great distances, nor to you have the reasonably level playing field across all the countries in Europe.

                      I do not believe that there will be a queue of countries all wanting to suddenly do business with us that the EU prevented. Even if there was, FTA's generally take years of negotiation for each counterparty country. We will not be doing this just once for a nice big trading bloc like Europe, but doing it on our own for every country. I'm not even sure the UK has enough expertise and personnel to deliver this even in the unlikely event there was a queue.

                      1. codejunky Silver badge

                        Re: There's always an excuse to increase prices, but...

                        @ Giovani Tapini

                        "Having hands and feet tied by an organisation that we are on the "management" of suggests this is a bit overstated"

                        Really? John asked- I can't work out, and no Brexiteer has managed to demonstrate, where all the boundless goodness is going to come from. We cannot demonstrate as we are not permitted to do the things he wants demonstrating by the organisation we are leaving. No overstatement just a statement of fact unless you suggest we sign trade deals before leaving the EU (we are not allowed).

                        "Are we going to be in a better place economically? I very much doubt it"

                        Ok. Thats your opinion. Is that in the short term, long term or mid term? I disagree. And since I voted for a number of reasons- economic, democratic, economy, trade, sovereignty.

                        "Even if there was, FTA's generally take years of negotiation for each counterparty country."

                        Trade is not just FTA. However the FTA's have been negotiated (watered down as you put it) based on 28 countries, we would be negotiating for 1.

                        "I'm not even sure the UK has enough expertise and personnel to deliver this even in the unlikely event there was a queue."

                        Now thats a downer. So as a country famed for our world trade and capacity to deal globally it sounds like joining the EU caused a number of lobotomies to be performed. I dont think so but if thats your view it would give reason to leave the EU for competence sake.

                        1. John Mangan

                          Re: There's always an excuse to increase prices, but...

                          @codejunky

                          "Now thats a downer. So as a country famed for our world trade and capacity to deal globally it sounds like joining the EU caused a number of lobotomies to be performed. I dont think so but if thats your view it would give reason to leave the EU for competence sake."

                          David Davis couldn't sort out the 'easiest deal ever'(TM) and when May tried, however ineffectively, to drag something workable from that steaming mass of fuckwittery he threw his toys out of the pram so that he could carp from the sidelines. Yeah, we're in great shape.

                          1. codejunky Silver badge

                            Re: There's always an excuse to increase prices, but...

                            @ John Mangan

                            "David Davis couldn't sort out the 'easiest deal ever'(TM) and when May tried, however ineffectively, to drag something workable from that steaming mass of fuckwittery he threw his toys out of the pram so that he could carp from the sidelines"

                            I love the interpretation. The EU took the piss and DD didnt take it. DD would have had either a good deal or hard brexit (still better than a bad deal or being in) which is why May interfered so much. You remember the stalling because the EU bill was not only disputed but discredited line by line? My wants us to remain, she campaigned on that platform and is sticking to it. If your not happy with how a remainer is negotiating brexit then welcome to our world.

                          2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

                            Re: There's always an excuse to increase prices, but...

                            David Davis couldn't sort out the 'easiest deal ever'(TM)

                            This is the effect of populism. Despite the fact that some things, like international agreements, are unavoidably complicated, they promise that you just need the right people to do the job because all those doing it at the moment are either incompetent, or for more effect, actively sabotaging the project. Replace them with true believers and it's job done. For good reason, people don't like complexity, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist but it does it make it easier to offer trite and simplistic solutions like "getting rid of government waste" and anyone who criticises the nonsense is automatically an "enemy of the people".

                    2. John Mangan

                      Re: There's always an excuse to increase prices, but...

                      @codejunky

                      As usual you answer none of the questions. Forget whiffling about the EU this and the EU that. In the post-Brexit world, if things are to be even as good as they are now, the UK needs to have trade deals with all of the countries that we currently do (including the EU countries) because the rest of the market is too small to worry about. And each of those deals, apart from with the EU, has to be done one country at a time - and we don't currently have the expertise to do that never mind the capacity to manage them in parallel.

                      Surely some of those deals will be better but some will most assuredly be worse - any other view is just blinkered.

                      "Not really. The UK doesnt want a border, NI and ROI dont want one, who is left? So if the EU want one they can make it. It is their problem that they choose to take on themselves. Under WTO rules we dont have to make a physical border."

                      You need to do a bit of reading. If we don't have a border with Eire (and therefore the EU) then under WTO rules we cannot impose a border on ANYBODY else. Just think about that for a minute before blindly going 'the EU this....'.

                      1. codejunky Silver badge

                        Re: There's always an excuse to increase prices, but...

                        @ John Mangan

                        "As usual you answer none of the questions"

                        Feel free to read my response. If you find no answer then re-read.

                        "Forget whiffling about the EU this and the EU that."

                        Except I was responding to your comment about the EU. How can I respond about your comment about the EU without mentioning it?

                        "And each of those deals, apart from with the EU, has to be done one country at a time - and we don't currently have the expertise to do that never mind the capacity to manage them in parallel."

                        So one of the greatest trading nations cant handle trade? The EU really must have buggered up the country, we must leave.

                        "Surely some of those deals will be better but some will most assuredly be worse - any other view is just blinkered."

                        So trade negotiated and watered down to please 28 countries you think would be better than negotiated for 1? Thats your opinion.

                        "You need to do a bit of reading"

                        Feel free to do so too. We do not need to make a physical border. The border is a line on the map. We possibly have to do some form of spot checks. Thats about it. Basically a soft to non-existent border which appeases WTO rules. The Irish border is a non-issue.

                  2. streaky
                    Mushroom

                    Re: There's always an excuse to increase prices, but...

                    I can't work out, and no Brexiteer has managed to demonstrate, where all the boundless goodness is going to come from.

                    It's been explained millions of times.

                    The EU works out trade deals good for countries like Germany - then any time the prospect of a trade deal good for the UK raises its head they immediately scuttle it. The way they made TTIP completely untenable to all sides is a fairly obvious example of it but there's been many examples. A trade deal with the US is easy but the UK was going to net gain so can't have that. Lets talk about your regulation of swimming pool temperatures. Lets talk about US ownership of European public orgs. Fancy a chunk of the NHS? We can do that. Oh the UK won't like any of this, looks like a winner. Death spiral ensues. Scuttled *intentionally* by the EU. There are many examples of this. China is never going to happen, india, the Japan one the EU is pretending to have is a sick joke - they didn't even want it until we're leaving and it's a million miles from anything that even smells like a trade deal - it's an agreement to follow existing trade legal norms which both sides should be doing anyway.

                    The EU puts tariffs on things that Germany can't compete with. China makes very high quality solar panels that are cheaper than the ones Germany makes. It's a stated EU objective to reduce carbon (amongst other things) emissions. The technology to do this only useful when it's cheap but obviously one thing you can't have is a country like China outcompeting Germany on price and quality so obviously we need tariffs completely contrary to a major goal of the EU - that's leaving aside when it's British industry they couldn't care less, even when they don't have to pay but that's moot, the EU has rules right? Net result - reducing carbon emissions in the EU is more expensive than it should be. Now this is silly enough, Germany and Spain started this action, the EU fast-tracks the response (calls it dumping because obviously if we can't compete it must be dumping), tariffs applied - here's the kicker - Germany realises it's also buying many many of these solar panels from China itself because who in their right minds would overpay for something so important - especially when you're busy decommissioning all your nuclear power - and that because the German solar manufacturing industry isn't very big it's actually getting screwed both ends. Can Germany undo the almighty mistake it just made? No, no it can't - because the EU is a massive complicated undemocratic *mess* when you put something in motion you can't stop it nor undo it (the stupidity of the TPD and how it's going to kill millions of people is another fine example of this idiocy). The EU legally, politically and economically is a gigantic oil tanker in a hurricane that has lost power and dropped its anchors at the bottom of the ocean; it's going to hit land and piss oil out everywhere. It's just a matter of time.

                    As for why's the leaving thing and doing trade deals better than staying in and hoping the EU throws us a morsel once every few decades, well, because when we leave all trade with the EU isn't going to stop, even with a no-deal brexit. It's going to drop proportionally to the tariffs that are brought in. We know what those look like, and they are not scary. If that's all it was you'd probably be right and brexit would be a terrible idea - we have the chance to do trade deals very easily with people who are are our actual major trade partners - as opposed to pretend ones that aren't like the Netherlands - based on the concept of reciprocity. We like the deal, they like the deal, we cover the easy stuff and build from there. We can pick apart what deals the EU has and essentially copy-paste them (yes, it is a thing) into the basis of a new deal - we're trading on those terms today, there's no reason we can't tomorrow, in fact because we're not in the EU we have a chance to offer better terms than the EU gave these countries. You can start stacking up trade deals very quickly in that environment.

                    This is of course predicated on having a competent government, which is a different problem entirely - but the PM was picked by remainer MPs and I'm not responsible for that. An actual leaver in government would have been negotiating deals since 2016 ready to come into force the day we leave. Many have countries have said it's doable and they would and it's a huge shame this hasn't happened - unless it has which we won't know for a while - seems unlikely with May trying to anchor us to the sinking ship.

                    I mentioned the Netherlands. According to the stats the Netherlands is IIRC the UK's third biggest trade partner. We do significantly more trade with the Netherlands - especially on imports than we do with France. France actually produces things that we buy and has a far larger economy, the Netherlands doesn't (unless you count tulips - and no this isn't a meme, it's an actual fact) - so why is it that the Netherlands has a disproportionate amount of trade with the UK? You've probably heard of the Rotterdam Effect. It's estimated to be about 2% of our trade with the Netherlands - that figure is completely wrong. There's no actual way to untangle this but the numbers don't fit, it's probably closer to 50% than 2% (you can work out what they should look like by comparing similar countries) - and now the UK-EU trade figures don't look so good. Lets massively lowball it and say it's 10%; the UK is now missing out on hundreds of billions of pounds in taxes (VAT, tariffs) in a MAFF period that are being billed by the Netherlands and being sold as the UK end-destination but not taxed that way. We now have a problem.

                    Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, Starbucks. You've heard of these companies - there's a reason you've heard of these companies. They're using single market tax rules to completely synthetically book sales to other countries. RoI, Luxembourg, Spain, others. Net result - they pay almost no tax in the UK despite the fact we know for sure they're actually making huge sales in the UK. Amazon alone, their tax bill should be massive. Four pillars of the single market means they don't have to pay any tax here. The people who are most angry about these companies tax affairs are the very same people who want to remain in the EU - Phillip "Wonderclown" Hammond wants to think up massively excessively complex ways to make them pay tax when the solution is very very simple - leave the EU and this nonsense ends forthwith. Turns out, all things being equal, that we have online retail taxes - they're called duty and VAT - and that all you need to do to have them be paid is leave the single market. Easy. But then Hammond is a remoaner so it's not hard to see he's not pretending.

                    EU membership is a zero-sum game. The richer you get, the more you pay, so what's the point in getting richer as a nation within it? What's the benefit, why try to grow your economy?

                    These are just a few examples, the stupidity of the whole setup is well documented, there are many more like this, the EU has had many opportunities to sort them all out, reform (and it's not a personality thing because David Cameron as somebody on the continent claimed to me a few days ago else they wouldn't be spitting in the face of their Lord Saviour Macron over reform, they're corrupt and they want to keep it the way it is because they're getting rich as fuck doing it).

                    Aside from that the UK is world leading many areas of technology that I'm not going to list, but suffice to say they're game changers in energy generation, aviation and various other key areas and I don't want to see the UK asset-stripped any longer.

                    I can do this without even talking about the rabbit hole of idiocy and irony that is free movement and social dumping but I don't really need to because the economic case alone is cast iron. And yes, every leave voter knows all this, and that leaving the EU means leaving the single market and customs union.

                    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

                      Re: There's always an excuse to increase prices, but...

                      Regarding your last paragraph, you cannot claim that Brexit means what the losing side said it would mean as that would be disingenuous. Those were the Remain campaign's warnings, not the Leave campaign's promises. The Leave campaign promised that Brexit did not mean leaving the SM, and indeed in July 2016 after the referendum only 35% of people who voted for Leave thought it did mean leaving the SM.

                      Whatever Brexit meant, it never meant leaving the SM, that promise was not made by Leave and Leave voters did not believe it meant that when voting because they were not told it did.

                      1. streaky

                        Re: There's always an excuse to increase prices, but...

                        Dan 55 -

                        Several issues. Firstly selective editing is fun. Secondly those people don't speak for all leavers. Thirdly remainers like to get hung up about what was said in the campaign - all those things weren't.

                        Leaving the EU means leaving the single market and customs union - you don't do either one of those things and you're in the EU in all but name - and that's what everybody voted for. You stay in the EU you're not leaving either. Ignoring that all campaigns were *extremely* clear about what that meant. Weird how that linked poll screenshot massively oversamples remain voters though, was the groundwork done at the lib dem conference?

                        1. streaky

                          Re: There's always an excuse to increase prices, but...

                          Also by the way looking at this again - the question in that poll makes it a push poll, the wording of the question is written to make the people being asked express a specific view AND the option they want to you answer is not an available option so it's worthless anyway. GJ BBC.

                        2. Dan 55 Silver badge

                          Re: There's always an excuse to increase prices, but...

                          Several issues. Firstly selective editing is fun. Secondly those people don't speak for all leavers.

                          They were all prominent people linked to the Leave campaign talking before the referendum.

                          Thirdly remainers like to get hung up about what was said in the campaign - all those things weren't.

                          They were the Leave campaign's vision of Brexit before the referendum. Or are you saying 65% of leave voters were mistaken?

                          Leaving the EU means leaving the single market and customs union

                          You've not heard of the EEA? There's even the EEA + CU option that isn't there if the UK wants to take it. The problem is May's red lines, otherwise this could be over tomorrow.

                          1. streaky

                            Re: There's always an excuse to increase prices, but...

                            They were all prominent people linked to the Leave campaign talking before the referendum.

                            Yeah and edited out of context to look like they were saying things that they weren't.

                            EEA doesn't allow negotiating free trade deals. And before you say it does - it very clearly doesn't which is why no members of it do. Technically yes, you're right in that legally speaking you theoretically could but the reality is it makes it impossible. EEA membership is as stupid as May's Chequers plan.

                    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge
                      Stop

                      Re: There's always an excuse to increase prices, but...

                      The EU works out trade deals good for countries like Germany - then any time the prospect of a trade deal good for the UK raises its head they immediately scuttle it.

                      This is a strawman. As long as the UK is part of the EU then it has just as much opportunity to influence trade talks as Germany. The inability to understand that, if you want to do this, you have to negotiate with others has coloured the UK's dealing with the other member states over the last twenty years: Thatcher's boasting about opt-outs turned out to be Pyrrhic victory.

                      Assuming that the UK will cut better deals outside the EU than it currently cuts within it is worse than naive.

                  3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

                    Re: There's always an excuse to increase prices, but...

                    And then last night on PMQs I saw some mindless cretin

                    Similar to the entitled cretin of a Tory MP that said "they should just get on with it without any delay" (when talking about Brexit).

                    Does he not understand that these things are not simple? There isn't a magic wand that can be waved to make all the old treaty obligations to go away and there certainly isn't one to make new trade deals happen..

                    One is used to MPs being morons, but he took it to a new low.

                2. Alan Hope

                  Re: There's always an excuse to increase prices, but...

                  "Pretty conclusive"? I see lots of "pending", and "awaiting application" countries. However I see the mighty Greenland is fully on board with a "trade agreement", and you can tell how important that is... I mean just look at the SIZE of that red splotch!

                  1. Dan 55 Silver badge

                    Re: There's always an excuse to increase prices, but...

                    And I ask you again, how many years will it take to get the British version looking like that?

              2. Alan Hope

                Re: There's always an excuse to increase prices, but...

                Exactly. It is against EU law for us, even at this stage in the Brexit process, to even start to broker free-trade agreements with other countries. Yet our Remainer friends persist with their patronising, "remind me, exactly how many free-trade agreements does the UK have outside the EU" etc etc. Sigh.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: There's always an excuse to increase prices, but...

      Tarriffs, especially non-financial ones, will no doubt increase the costs of doing business. But as to whether the costs will be passed on, depends on whether the market can and will bear them. The real downside risk is not necessarily higher prices, but solvency if the market for products and services becomes less viable.

      Exchange rate risk will affect availability and price: if external costs for "essentials" like energy rise then these will lead to price rises, or lower government revenues if duty is relaxed; "luxury" items may become more expensive and thus available only to those who can afford them. Of course, in the second-case this might offer opportunities for other producers though history suggests there is always less scope for alternative sources than enthusiasts suggest, largely because it is more difficult to replace products with others of similar quality than you might imagine.

      But the short answer is: as long as no one knows what the conditions will be, no one can plan for them and this will act as a brake on investment.

    3. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: There's always an excuse to increase prices, but...

      "And if prices fall due to new tariffs or strengthened sterling, will they pass those on as well?"

      If it allows them to undercut their competition, whilst still making a profit, then, probably?

  3. Chronos
    Flame

    Already USD == GBP

    ...in this sector, at least. Now they're looking for an excuse to gouge us even more? Softcat? More like Fatcat.

    Bastards.

  4. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    Dont worry about

    Brexit.

    Exchange rate goes down. Prices go up

    Exchange rate goes up. Prices go up

    Material costs up. Prices go up

    Material costs down. Prices go up

    Profits go down. Prices go up

    Profits go up. wages go down.

    Cynical? Moi?

  5. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Looking at businesses like PC Specialist, Entroware, or Crucial, it'd be a miracle if they survive.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How are they going to put prices up?

    Let me share my simplistic view, the day after brexit you will still be able to buy goods from the EU it's not like they are going to set up a blockade (though I may be wrong). Maybe I'm missing something here but I can't see them ripping up all the infrastructure already in place. Sure they could apply tariffs but I'm guessing neither side will be ready to collect them anyway and I'm guessing most businesses won't be ready either.

    A complete omnishambles.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A complete omnishambles

      True. But we're finally leaving it.

    2. streaky

      It's even simpler than that, if it all goes to pot we can just carry on as-is. Not sure the government knows it - but then it wouldn't with clowns like Hammond in number 11 - but it's completely feasible. It's the EU that would get in a massive tizzy about what to do.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      “I can't see them ripping up all the infrastructure already in place”

      But that is exactly what the UK has voted to do.

  7. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Holmes

    "businesses like certainty and predictability"

    Completely wrong.

    According to my 300+ years of experience, businesses like decision making based on "the feelz" and apparently crack cocaine, like going out on random limbs legally, organisationally and intellectually, like evidence-free unrealistic deadlines, and like pissing key people off for no good reason whatsoever, planting whole sections of the cunterpriseenterprise hard.

    1. Giovani Tapini

      Re: "businesses like certainty and predictability"

      What you say is true if your are an arms dealer or asset stripper, not so true if you have to grow or build products...

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