The government should reduce post-Brexit red tape and bring back the Brexit Support Fund, according to a report from the British Chamber of Commerce.
In its latest manifesto, the organisation (which represents over 10,000 businesses) highlights concerns over disruption since leaving the EU’s single market. It also lays out recommendations for the government and the EU to make exporting goods easier for businesses.
What recommendations did the British Chamber of Commerce make?
As mentioned, the organisation wants less of a paperwork burden to reduce delays, calling on Britain and the EU to streamline new customs and processes. Reaching an agreement on the Northern Ireland protocol is something that Britain and the bloc should be focusing on.
An agreement on safety marking for industrial goods and a veterinary deal to ease restrictions on trade of plant and animal products is also highlighted in the manifesto, as well as simplified rules on cross-border VAT.
As for Britain specifically, the BCC are calling on the government to delay the National insurance increase in April and help for businesses to cope with rising energy costs.
Businesses should also receive support through the return of the SME Brexit Support Fund. Originally set up to help businesses who want to export, the scheme was criticised at the time for being overly complicated and having a low uptake.
The BCC’s research shows reduced trade with EU across the board. It is advocating for clearer, simpler guidance for SMEs on exporting goods and services to individual EU member states, while ensuring they have the information they need to avoid duplication of costs in areas such as VAT registration in the EU.
One major concern for BCC members was limits on labour and talent. The organisation wants more flexibility for workers to alleviate problems that come with labour shortages.
“Our research shows that overseas trade fell off a cliff in early 2020; just 8 per cent of UK exporters saw any increase in the second quarter of that year,” said Shevaun Haviland, the BCC director general. “Almost two years later and the figures are still way below where they need to be, with only around a quarter reporting improvement.”
“We are using our entire Global Business Network and will do everything we can to help firms explore the amazing possibilities that are out there. But more also needs to be done by government to support UK companies that have had to battle with rocketing costs, disrupted supplies and reams of new paperwork in Europe.”
“Only 10 per cent of UK businesses are currently involved in exporting when all our research shows that firms trading overseas are more productive, innovative and resilient.”