York Liberal Democrat Councillor Sue Hunter, a small business owner in the city, has written to the Business Minister Alok Sharma MP to outline the challenges facing businesses in the case that the Government fails to secure a Brexit deal at the end of the transition period.
With the Conservatives preoccupied with ideological infighting, the risk of Britain crashing out of the European Union without an agreement leaves businesses across the country facing a monumental challenge, after months of managing disruption caused by the pandemic. As the latest round of UK-EU talks look set for further stalemate and argument, the most recent studies estimate that the impact of a no-deal Brexit would see a cost to the UK economy three times larger over the longer-term as the forecasted impact of Covid-19.
The Government is failing to provide clarity and support to local businesses, compounding the monumental challenge the business community has faced over these last few months. Small businesses currently face the real possibility of the introduction of major tariffs, increased red tape and documentation, which would see a significant increase in the cost of operating. This will not only mean increased prices being passed on to the local consumers, but also pose a detrimental impact on the local business community.
Writing to the Secretary of State, Cllr Sue Hunter commented:
“These are incredibly difficult times for businesses across the city. The pandemic has posed major challenges to business owners just like me, and with the Brexit deadline fast approaching, the business community in York is rightly worried about the impacts that the failure to reach a deal will have on the future of our businesses.
“Small businesses have been managing coronavirus-linked disruption for the past six months. As firms are faced with the monumental challenge that the impact of Brexit will have on their operations and future, the Government must urgently step in with substantial financial support to assist with transition preparations.
“Small firms - which make up 99 per cent of our country’s business community - don’t have the time or money to get across this new bureaucracy. The only way to ensure that small businesses survive and are enabled to thrive in what will be a very difficult period following the end of the transition period, is for the Government to set aside ideology and agree a small business-friendly deal. The Government must act now to ensure that small businesses, local communities and people’s livelihoods are protected.”