Fylde firms say export aid is vital in wake of PM’s Brexit speech

Gary Lovatt, Federation of Small Business (FSB) Regional Chairman for Lancashire & Cumbria
Gary Lovatt, Federation of Small Business (FSB) Regional Chairman for Lancashire & Cumbria

Fylde coast business leaders have called for business as usual in the wake of Prime Minister Theresa May’s keynote speech about Brexit.

They have urged the PM to ensure there is no sudden block on trade with the EU and to make sure that EU nationals working here can remain and firms can recruit the people they need.

They are also calling for more help to export globally from the Government as Britain repositions itself to trade independently with the rest of the world.

Chairman of Blackpool-based FSB Lancashire and Cumbria, Gary Lovatt said:“Today we wanted to see the Prime Minister begin to sketch out a ‘pro-business Brexit’ by addressing trade, talent and transitional arrangements.

“93 per cent of our members export directly to the single market. Our members want to see this bold and ambitious Free Trade Agreement so that they can continue to trade and operate within European markets.

“However, we will push the Government to guarantee whatever transition process is put in place ensures there is no cliff edge or gap in trade.

“One in five (21 per cent) FSB members export. This could be doubled with the right tailored small business support from the Department for International Trade along with new FTAs with the fastest growing markets in the world. Global trade will only flourish if the FTAs prevent additional barriers, such as cost and paperwork.

“Small employers will welcome the pledge to maintain the UK as a true magnet for international talent.

“We have pressed the Government hard to guarantee the right to remain for non-UK EU nationals in existing workforces, and no early cut-off date.

“Any future system must help small firms to easily recruit the right person, for the right job, at the right time.

“The Prime Minister’s other objectives show that there is a clear intention for transitional arrangements beyond the two year fixed period.

“We welcome the legislative certainty that comes with the Great Repeal Bill, to maintain the regulatory framework in the medium-term by incorporating EU law into UK law.

“After that, FSB will push Government and Parliament for the radical reform of the regulatory burden for small businesses.”

In a speech setting out her 12 key objectives for EU withdrawal, Mrs May announced that Britain will leave the European single market but will seek a “bold and ambitious” free trade agreement. She said she would quit the European Court of Justice and restore control over immigration and was ready to quit the the European customs union.