Council resources to help local businesses through Brexit

Council resources to help local businesses through Brexit

The uncertainty caused by the delay of implementing Brexit is having a negative impact on local businesses.

Speaking at a Brexit Roundtable discussion hosted by the Council, business leaders have said that another extension to Brexit would further impact their business. However, at the same time the UK leaving without an agreement would not be in their interest and would create even more economic uncertainty.

Deputy Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Regeneration, Cllr Darren Byford, told the meeting that with the help of strong Wakefield companies a resilient local economy can be created and the Council is committed to providing the help and support businesses need.

“Wakefield is one of the 10 fastest growing local economies in the UK and employment has never been higher which is down to local businesses and how we, as a Council, provide an enabling environment to help them grow.”

He said that Brexit does throw up challenges but with challenges come opportunities.

“Let’s grab that change and make it work for us” he urged them.

The purpose of the roundtable was for the Council to discuss the business challenges they face and how the Council can help them capitalise on the opportunities posed by Brexit.

Key business leaders represented a range of sectors including manufacturing, retail, logistics and financial services.

The feedback was mixed. Many of the larger companies have contingency measures in place while smaller companies were less prepared and require local support.

One large logistics company said ‘Brexit test runs’ undertaken by the Department for Transport at the Port of Dover recently showed that a No Deal Brexit “would be catastrophic” for his business.

He said that 100 trucks were involved in the test run to see how prepared the hauliers were. Of the 100, 95 were delayed and one had a three-hour wait. When that translates into 10,000 lorries using the port it would be catastrophic, he said.

The discussion clearly highlighted that businesses are worried about the impact of shipping goods on and around the 31st October.

Businesses were in agreement that the uncertainty regarding Brexit has meant that contracts been put on hold by investment companies until a Brexit decision is reached.

The business bosses also cautioned that while the UK was mono-focused on Brexit, other non-Brexit matters around the world were pointing towards another potential recession next year for which they also needed to be prepared.

Corporate Director for Economic Growth and Regeneration, Tom Stannard, welcomed the comments and said they would inform the Council about the help and support it needed to provide to local businesses. He told them that the Wakefield First partnership was prepared and is already providing advice and support to its businesses.

He said they could advise on various funds that were available to help fortify businesses to survive the transition into the new trading era as well as provide monthly intelligence reports to give them insight.

Their monthly comprehensive intelligence and data collection reports provide a range of insightful information. This includes staffing issues such as the impact on EU workers, Customs and VAT procedures for imports and changes in export requirements and documentation.