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North West business community reacts to Brexit

Britain is to leave the European Union after 43 years of membership after the public voted in favour of an exit in the referendum.

Brexit edged the vote by 52% to 48%, with more than 30 million people turning out, and North West business leaders have admitted the result casts the region into “uncertainty”.

Addressing how the outcome could impact on commercial companies in the region, John Hall, chief executive of Professional Liverpool, says: “The majority of our members wanted to stay in the EU and so there is bound to be a period of uncertainty now as Britain stands alone.

“To this effect, it’s more important than ever for us to regroup, respect this decision and unite as a country. We need to look to this as a new opportunity to govern the country and have a clear focus on continuing and building on business prosperity for the future.”

John Hall

John Hall of Professional Liverpool

Carl Williams, North West managing partner at Grant Thornton, which operates a professional services network of independent accounting and consulting member firms, adds: “There will considerable uncertainty for some months as a result of this result.

“With exports being such an important part of the North West economy businesses here will want, as a priority, to see some strong leadership from the government on securing new trade deals with Europe and the rest of the world.

“It is important too that the much welcome focus towards rebalancing the economy by bringing forward the Northern Powerhouse agenda is not lost. As business leaders we must drive it forward where we can.”

Carl Williams of Grant Thornton

Carl Williams of Grant Thornton

Many towns in the North West voted to leave while cities including Liverpool and Manchester were in favour of remaining in the European Union.

There were 118,453 (58.2%) votes for remain in Liverpool and 85,101 for leave (41.8%), with Manchester returning similar figures – 121,823 (60.4%) to remain and 79,991 (39.6%) to leave.

Wirral, Sefton, Trafford, Stockport also voted remain, but the trend for North West towns was in favour of leave, with Bury, Knowsley, St Helens, Halton and Bolton among those voting for Brexit.

Prime Minister David Cameron announced his resignation following the result of the referendum.