The Federation of Small Businesses has called for the government to provide transition vouchers as UK-EU trade talks resume.
“The transition period will soon be at an end but the small firms that make up 99% of our business community still have no clear sense of what they’ll be transitioning to,” Mike Cherry, national chairman of the FSB said.
“The economy is in a very different place today compared to the last time we were told to prepare for a no-deal outcome. Small firms don’t have the time or money to get across new bureaucracy or stockpile.”
He also said that negotiators need to agree on a small business-friendly deal, addressing the fact that currently the draft terms of the EU deal does not contain any information of how it will benefit businesses of all sizes.
“SMEs across the country have been in survival mode for the past six months as they deal with the devastating effect COVID-19 has had on their business and, more broadly, the UK economy,” Chirag Shah, CEO of Nucleus Commercial Finance, told Tech Advisor.
“This has come at a time when businesses were already struggling to prepare for the uncertainty of the Brexit transition period ending in December.
“Our recent research found that half of SME owners are most fearful of a second wave of coronavirus, while a quarter are worried about the impact of Brexit once the transition period ends,” he added.
“This clearly demonstrates the extremely challenging environment business owners are operating in. The end of the Brexit transition period could hit many SME owners without them having robust business plans in place due to the time currently being invested to ensure their business’ immediate survival.”
As businesses have been tackling the COVID-19 disruptions over the past few months, financial support from the government to assist with the transition would be of significant help.
“Transition vouchers mark a sensible way forward: set sums that can be spent on expertise, tech and training that will ease the small business community’s move to a new relationship with the EU,” Cherry said.
“If the Government wants firms to take preparatory action over the next few months, it needs to help them to do so. Business minds are, understandably, still very much focused on coronavirus.”
You might like to read FSB’s recent call for a reduction to national insurance contributions.