As businesses brace themselves for the outcome of another crunch couple of days of Brexit negotiations, analysis by Irwin Mitchell has revealed company bosses are expected to read the equivalent of Tolstoy’s epic novel War & Peace in order to get themselves up to speed with the Government’s Brexit rules.
The national law firm has examined the recent guidance that has been compiled for different sectors of the economy and revealed the huge amount of information that needs to be digested by business leaders. Business lawyers at Irwin Mitchell are calling for the Government to make Brexit guidance easier for companies to digest.
For businesses operating in the consumer goods sector, for example, there are currently 33 individual pages of guidance and information in 13 sections, adding up to 581,704 words. It’s estimated that this would take the average person almost 40 hours to read – the equivalent of a full working week.
The guidance, which covers areas including importing and exporting, selling goods, workforce, data and intellectual property, contains 20,000 words more than War and Peace, the first four Harry Potter Books, or the entire Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit series.
Experts at Irwin Mitchell say that the reading requirements are similar for other sectors of the economy and expressed concern that there is a lot more to come once the situation about whether there’ll be a deal or not becomes clearer.
Vicky Brackett, CEO of Irwin Mitchell’s Business Legal Services division said, “As with many things to do with Brexit, the Government’s strategy on guidance seems to be evolving.
“Although it’s positive that the Government wants to keep businesses and individuals informed and that it has recently consolidated its sector-based guidance, it must recognise the huge pressure businesses are under and the amount of information and rules they’re expected to get to grips with in a short period of time.
“The sheer size of the task is incredibly daunting for many, particularly at a time when organisations are already dealing with the significant challenges of the global Covid-19 pandemic.
“Businesses are desperate for certainty but as the outcome of the current negotiations hopefully become clearer , there’ll undoubtedly be more guidance and much of it will make a lot of what they are currently reading, redundant.”
Vicky added, “The government needs to do more to help businesses, starting with making guidance not only more digestible, but timely and easier to access.”