A No-Deal Brexit – what does it mean for small business?

BrexitThe news has been full of little else. There is an impression that the Government has no time to discuss anything other than Brexit and that, even after two years of negotiating, Teresa May and the Conservative party have not found a deal that can bring parliament, and the country, together on the issue. A second referendum is being mooted, and the idea dismissed, and with parliament about to go on a break for Christmas there is a lot of uncertainty about the future and it all feels are from festive. A ‘No-Deal’ Brexit is now being planned for, and there is a considerable amount of concern on the impact for small businesses and the self-employed. Recently, all the big names in business support have written to urge the government to avoid a ‘no deal at all costs –  this group consists of The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC); the Confederation of British Industry (CBI); the EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation; the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and the Institute of Directors.

Even if you don’t yet trade abroad in a significant way, changes would undoubtedly affect you, even if it is only in the freedom to travel to and from markets and potential suppliers in the EU. Those operating a bed and breakfast or independent hotel business might find it harder to attract customers and with restrictions on immigration, expansion requiring additional staff may become more difficult. For most businesses, the situation feels chaotic, and business advisors bemoan the fact that there is no one place for businesses to go for advice.

Surveys from the Federation of Small Businesses and other business support organisations say very few businesses have made any plans for Britain crashing out of Europe. It is very difficult to know what to do at this stage when so little is known. However, the government has a website that offers advice should no deal be reached. If you go to https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/how-to-prepare-if-the-uk-leaves-the-eu-with-no-deal  it offers advice on a variety of issues, including tax and regulations on products, as well as travelling across the EU. It is being updated all the time, but with so little properly agreed there is an air of ‘wait and see’ against a number of points, and as mentioned above, business has to share the site with every concern possible, so there is a need to filter carefully. However, it is a useful portal and one to keep an eye on.

We would be really interested to know how you are preparing for ‘no deal’ or even for the deal that is on the table. Do you think there should be a second referendum? Do you think Brexit will still offer your business opportunities it didn’t otherwise have? Do comment below.