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17 October 2019

Brexit breakthrough brings promise of a deal, say small firms

Responding to the announcement that a Brexit deal has been reached between the UK Government and EU, National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Mike Cherry said: “After three years of uncertainty that has stalled planning, hampered investment and slowed growth, a last-minute Brexit deal now seems within reach.

“Many small businesses will be relieved that there now appears to be a credible pathway towards securing a deal that avoids a chaotic no-deal on 31 October and guarantees a transition period, which smaller businesses need to adapt to the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

"Of course the devil will be in the detail and we will now take time to examine the intricacies of the deal to make sure it works for all small businesses across the UK.

“Our members are saying that a no-deal Brexit on 31 October, or ongoing uncertainty, will hit them hard - making it difficult for them to trade, invest, hire staff and ultimately survive. With thousands of smaller businesses feeling unable to prepare for a no-deal scenario in 2 weeks’ time, avoiding this outcome remains of paramount importance.

“The security of a transition period, meaning only one set of rule changes in the future and time to prepare for our new relationship with the EU, is vital. It will provide much needed certainty and allow firms to press on with any paused planning and investment plans. 

“We have been here before, however, and although both the UK Government and EU have shown determination and a willingness to progress negotiations and deliver this breakthrough – we now need to see this continue if we are to reach a successful Brexit endgame. The Government and Parliament must now work together to ensure this is the best deal for the UK small business community.

“If the deal is passed – focus needs to turn quickly to the future relationship and ensuring that lessons are learnt from the experience of the last three years.

“Many small businesses are just about surviving - not only do they desperately need certainty but they also need the Government to get back to business and focus on meeting the many domestic challenges that have fallen behind Brexit.”