Added costs and increased red tape appear to be the chief concerns of the UK’s small business sector on the Brexit issue. But are they right to be worried?
Business leaders across the nation are now voicing a growing fear that small enterprises could be bogged down in detail when the big split occurs next March.
The uncertainty is also fuelling these concerns as politicians in the UK and Europe seem no closer to clinching a mutually acceptable agreement.
If all else fails it seems that importers and exporters will be forced to operate under the complex tariff arrangements of World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules. Quite how this will impact on individual firms is not certain - further stoking the fires of anxiety.
Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) leader Mike Cherry voiced these fears:
"Small firms need some Brexit clarity before Christmas. Ultimately, we want to see a deal that works for all businesses – with easy cross-border trade, access to skills and funding streams all protected. The number one priority is ensuring the transition period that we’ve fought for is nailed down by the end of this year."
"If we reach the Budget and things are still up in the air, we’ll be looking for additional financial support for smaller businesses as they prepare for life after March 2019. It’s worrying to see small exporters already reporting a drop in overseas sales over the last quarter."
"Confidence among the 4.8 million-strong self-employed community has plummeted. This Government needs to do some soul searching – a broken promise on Class II NICs, failure to take full responsibility for delivering a pensions dashboard and threats to the New Enterprise Allowance all have the self-employed once again questioning whether this administration is on their side."
"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."
FSB chairman Mr Cherry added that the smallest firms simply do not have the capacity or resources to deal with all the added costs.