Small Businesses Dependent on Fair Brexit Deal, Says FSB

A no-deal Brexit will be “dangerous and damaging” for small businesses, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has warned.

The report follows the publication of the Government’s most recent raft of no-deal Brexit technical notes, designed to reassure and support businesses in the event that the UK walks away from the EU with no partnership in place.

As talks between leaders of the EU and the UK become increasingly acrimonious, a no-deal is edging ever more likely. This, the FSB says, would be disastrous for the UK’s small business community.

Reviewing the Government’s latest no-deal guidance, the business group says the technical notes highlight the possibility that exporting and importing small firms will face additional cost burdens and complicated level of compliance which “they simply can’t handle”.

“Small businesses have been working hard to be compliant with new personal data protection changes such as GDPR. For many, this has come at great cost both in time and money,” said Mike Cherry, National Chairman of the FSB.

“If we leave the EU on the 29 March without a deal, businesses using data for customer lists, or for selling products online, may be required to spend more time and money going through contracts and paperwork to figure out how they can legally continue to do so. This is time and money they can ill afford.”

Product testing will also be made more difficult, says Mr cherry. In particular, any UK business looking to sell their products internationally in the EU will be forced to ensure their products are tested in both the UK and the export country – acting as a barrier to easy trade.

“It will cost more, take longer and lead to extra regulatory hoops that small businesses may be forced to jump through,” said Mr Cherry.

He added: “Our smallest firms simply do not have the capacity or resources to deal with added costs and administrative burden that an unplanned no-deal Brexit will bring. We are fast running out of time to secure a business friendly Brexit that avoids this scenario and centres on a transition period.”

While Britain will officially leave the EU on 29 March 2019, the two Governments have provisionally agreed a 21-month transition period to support businesses, during which time freedom of movement and existing funding will continue.