Posted: Thu 13th Sep 2018
UK businesses are using Brexit as an excuse for their own failings, the Brexit secretary has said.
Raab made the comments following news that the John Lewis Partnership expects a 99% fall in half year profits with Brexit mentioned in its statement: "With the level of uncertainty facing consumers and the economy, in part due to ongoing Brexit negotiations, forecasting is particularly difficult but we continue to expect full year profits to be substantially lower than last year."
Questioned on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Raab said: "It's probably rather easy at this moment in time for any business which isn't doing rather well to point to Brexit."
He admitted that "uncertainty around these negotiations will have an impact on business" but said the overnment is "putting all our energy into getting the good deal that we want with our EU friends and partners, while making sure we manage the risks if it doesn't happen".
Posting on Twitter, European credit analyst Tomas Hirst said: "Seems to me @DominicRaab has a difficult enough brief without widening it to include snarking at underperforming UK high street names.
"Easy to put the ideological blinkers on about this stuff - and perfectly possible Brexit not the main factor in the case of John Lewis - but right now the one thing Brexit *isn't* for UK businesses is "convenient".
"Brexit is not the only cause of UK retail woes, but £ weakness did have a significant impact on real incomes, import costs. So dismissal of concerns by ministers not a good look."
John Lewis chair Sir Charlie Mayfield meanwhile told journalists: "I'm not going to get into some sort of ding-dong with the secretary of state."
Raab's comments come as the Cabinet meets for a three hour "no deal" planning session ahead of the release of more papers outlining the impact on the UK of a failure to succeed in negotiations with the EU.
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