Trade and Talent Top Small Business Brexit Wishlist
As the UK officially leaves the European Union, small businesses are urging to government to focus on negotiating a trade deal with the EU and securing top talent from abroad.
Research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) shows that the EU is the biggest trading bloc for small businesses that export (62%) and import (55%).
A third (32%) of small firms are already involved in overseas trade, with the vast majority trading with the EU single market (92% of exporters and 85% of importers).
Of the individual markets, the US (46%), Germany (38%) and France were considered the most important for small firms over the next three years.
Small business leaders believe that, given the importance of UK-EU trade, the government should prioritise a tariff and quota-free arrangement, as well as a deal that minimises non-tariff barriers, such as rules of origin compliance and labelling rules.
Mike Cherry, FSB national chairman, said: “The last three years have felt like Brexit purgatory for small businesses. Getting Brexit done will be welcomed by many of these businesses and they can now look forward with more certainty and renewed confidence.
“But as one chapter of Brexit ends, another begins, with little time on the clock to flesh out the crucial details needed to secure an ambitious deal that works for all of the UK.
“With only 11 months left before the transition period ends, small businesses will need a clear picture of where we are heading as quickly as possible. Time cannot be wasted.
“Firstly, attention must turn to negotiating a comprehensive free trade agreement with the EU – small businesses understand there will be some additional friction in trade with the EU after the transition period but want to ensure this is kept to a minimum. They also need time to adapt to new trading arrangements and financial support to absorb some of the additional costs.”
Miles Grady, Director of CloudAccountant.co.uk said: “Small firms have proved incredibly resilient in the face of so much uncertainty. They have come through a lot already, but the next few months could change the course of their whole business. It’s vital they get an early indication of what any new Brexit deal will look.”
Previous FSB research shows that almost 60% of small businesses that employ EU workers are concerned about accessing the skills they need post-Brexit.
The vast majority of small firms (95%) have no experience of employing workers from outside the EU.
Mr Cherry added: “For many small businesses, a fair and flexible immigration system is just as, if not more, important than securing our trading future. These firms rely on talent from outside the UK to plug current skill gaps, grow their businesses and contribute to the wider economy.”
For more information about Brexit and how it could affect your small businesses, speak to a member of the CloudAccountant.co.uk team today. Call: 0808 281 0303