Bristol's Green MEP, Molly Scott Cato, has said new research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) should ‘ring alarm bells’ for business prospects post-Brexit. The warnings come ahead of the FSB annual conference to be held in Torbay this week.
The research has found that one in four small businesses would be deterred from trading with the EU should any tariffs be introduced after Brexit. The government is planning to remove the UK from the single market, which would make tariffs highly likely. Molly said:
“This is another report in what is turning into a library of dire economic warnings about the impacts on businesses of the UK leaving the single market. This latest report should ring alarm bells, particularly as there are thousands of small businesses across the South West.
“We have already learned that a hard Brexit will backfire dramatically. Recent research revealed that regions of the UK that voted strongly for Leave are also those regions with the greatest levels of dependency on European Union markets. A further report showed Exeter, Plymouth and Bristol to be the top three cities in the UK with the highest proportion of exports going to the EU; 70%, 68% and 66% respectively.”
Molly will take part in a Question Time event at the FSB conference on Thursday. She concluded:
“Small businesses are the backbone of our local economy. It is clear that removing us from the single market will affect their ability to export to their biggest market with severe knock-on effects for jobs and communities across the South West.
“The evidence is mounting that the Conservative’s extreme form of Brexit will be an economic disaster. But this is not just about trade and exports. The single market has also guaranteed rights at work, protected standards for consumers and safeguarded our environment.”