17th March 2021
Today, I met a number of businesses in Warwick and Leamington at a virtual roundtable organised by my colleague, the local MP, Matt Western. The businesses all import or export to or from the European Union.
Since the start of the year, they have really struggled with cross-border trade. This includes, but is not limited to, massive problems with VAT, goods lost in transit, delays at the border and mountains of paperwork.
The problems were with each of the 27 EU countries not with the EU itself.
The businesses described the damage done to them because of the way our government has behaved in negotiating with the EU.
This is not about refighting the EU referendum but we do need our businesses to be able to import and export goods and services effectively.
Ministers are simply not showing urgency or often even acknowledging the scale of the problems at our borders.
I couldn’t help but compare the problems faced by the businesses I met today with the news that Joe Biden has today appointed the new head of the US Small Business Administration.
The SBA puts SMEs at the heart of America’s economy and will be instrumental in the application of the $1.9 trillion Covid-19 stimulus package he has introduced.
The UK government must fix the problems of the lack of preparation for leaving the EU and of the Covid-19 crisis.
It could learn from President Biden’s and put SMEs at the heart of the recovery.
We have to fix these problems, some of which were described to me today.