New research from the Federation of Small Businesses discovered that 11% of SMEs would no longer sell their goods and services to the EU with 59% declaring that trade would be impacted if overall costs increase as a result of having to complete additional customs declarations.
FSB National Policy chairman Martin McTague urged the Government to use the summer as an opportunity to intensify negotiations with the EU to deliver a “pro-business” Brexit based on easy trade and access to talent.
“Eight months is all we have left on the Brexit clock and time is running out to seal a deal that will avoid a disorderly ‘No Deal’ exit,” he said. “Smaller businesses, and those businesses they rely upon, simply don’t have enough time to prepare for a cliff edge Brexit. It cannot be forgotten that smaller firms, unlike bigger businesses, do not have the capacity or resources to make adequate contingency plans to soften the impact of this scenario. What will happen to the settled status scheme if there is no deal? How will a small deli survive if they are faced with large tariff increases on food imported from the EU? What support will be available for a self-employed consultant if they lose the right to move freely between the UK and EU?”
He called on the Government to step up its engagement and work even closer with the small business community to better understand how the proposed changes to customs arrangements and the mobility framework will impact their businesses.
“Small businesses still have a number of questions about the impact of the new customs arrangement being put forward, how mobility, including for the self-employed, will work post Brexit and what kind of future immigration system smaller firms will be faced with,” he added.