Small Businesses Await White Paper On Brexit As Many Require Free Access To European Markets

As a result of the UK leaving the European Union, one third of small firms expect their export volumes to decline

Small Businesses Await White Paper On Brexit As Many Require Free Access To European Markets

UK small businesses will wait on Theresa May’s Brexit plans with bated breath, as they prepare for life outside the single market.

May’s ‘white paper’, which could be introduced as early as this week, will formally set out the government’s plan for leaving the EU and will pave the way for official negotiations.

According to a recent survey of 4,000 small businesses by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), many see free access to European markets as “vital” – with 32% involved in some form of overseas trade as an exporter or importer.

92% of respondents who export, and 85% who import, currently trade with the EU single market – signifying the importance of free trade inside Europe for smaller firms.

As a result of the UK leaving the European Union, 29% of those surveyed expect their export volumes to decline, with just 20% expecting an increase.

The research, conducted in the autumn of 2016, also shows that 26% of Scottish smaller employers have a non-UK EU citizen as part of their staff team.

Andy Willox, FSB’s Scottish policy convenor, said: 

“UK business exports have been on the rise since the referendum on Europe, powered by the low value of pound. Governments in Edinburgh and London have bold ambitions to increase export volumes and values. Therefore, whatever lies ahead, we cannot see new administrative or financial burdens placed on firms which trade internationally.”

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