UK should tackle Brexit red tape, trade group says

According to the British Chambers of Commerce, the UK government should tackle post-Brexit red tape in customs and trade processes and issue more visas to address labour shortages.

The trade group, which represents tens of thousands of British businesses, has expressed concern about the disruption caused by Britain’s departure from the European Union’s single market.

In an extensive report ahead of the ‘Brexit Day’ anniversary on January 31, the BCC called on the UK and EU to further simplify new customs and trade processes to ease the burden of paperwork and prevent delays.

This should include an agreement on safety labelling of industrial products – with differences with the EU – and a veterinary agreement to ease trade restrictions on animal and plant products.

The group also wants simplified, business-friendly cross-border VAT rules to help UK companies trade with all countries in the EU.

BCC director-general Shevaun Haviland, who joined from the Cabinet Office last year, has expressed concern over how long it will take the government to resolve the problems Brexit has created for the company.

“When it comes to trading, it’s like, ‘We have some things to fix, but we’ll fix it quickly.’ But we’re not fast enough,” she said.

She added that businesses were “getting used to” the new border rules, but they were holding them back because they were “costly and time-consuming”. .. it just adds a lot of noise to the system. It didn’t go away. “

New border controls on EU imports that came into effect this year could exacerbate supply chain problems, the BCC said, urging the government to prioritise the movement of goods.

new rules introduced January 1 There was initially additional disruption — industry sources told BCC that about 30 percent of trucks were returned in Calais in the first week of the year — but Havilland said that had stabilized at around 10 percent.

BCC calls on the government to provide further financial help for companies that need to adapt to the rules SME Brexit Support Fund, designed to help small businesses deal with disruptions and paperwork associated with leaving the EU, and increase their maximum payments to over £2,000.

Haviland urged the EU and the UK to reach an agreement on the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol. “Negotiations need to be done as quickly as possible. . . Businesses just need to know, one way or another, what is the outcome?”

BCC director-general Shevaun Haviland said businesses were “getting used to” the new border rules, but added they were holding back businesses because they were “costly and time-consuming” © Hollie Adams/Bloomberg

She also pointed to the need to reassess EU restrictions on business travel and UK professional qualifications.

Havilland added that BCC members were concerned about access to skilled workers, with labour shortages proving to be “a drag on economic growth” in the UK. The group called for more visas “to try to ease some tensions in the system”.

“It’s definitely not asking for uncontrolled immigration,” she said. “We’re just saying, in areas where there’s a crunch like hospitality, construction and manufacturing, can we just sort out short-term visas and at the same time make people skilled in those roles?”

Companies are also concerned about the rising cost of doing business in the UK, given soaring costs for energy, wages, materials and supplies, she said. Businesses therefore need to raise prices, she added.

“The biggest concern for businesses is inflation, which is even higher than labor shortages.”

The BCC wants the government to delay a national insurance increase due to come into effect in April and provide additional help for small businesses to cope with rising energy costs.

“We don’t lose it now, we don’t kill it. The green shoots are there, let’s watch them bloom instead of killing them.”

The UK government says the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement allows UK businesses to “trade freely with Europe”, but they have to adapt to new processes, which they do by offering free one-on-one advice – using an export support service.

“Indications since January 1 are that traders and transporters are adjusting well to the introduction of full customs controls,” a spokesman said.

Source link