The chaos surrounding a No Deal Brexit is already harming local businesses that trade with other EU countries and putting jobs and investment at risk, South West Lib Dem MEP Caroline Voaden said on a visit to a factory in Poole on Tuesday.
“What we saw today confirms that what our Government is doing to businesses across the UK is a disgrace, causing them uncertainty, costs and a drain on resources. And to think the Conservative party used to be the ‘party of business.’ Those days are long gone."
Caroline visited Ishida, a Japanese food packaging company that uses its UK locations in Birmingham and Poole to export products to Europe. With her was Vikki Slade, Lib DemParliamentary Candidate for Mid Dorset & North Poole and leader of BCP council.
The firm has been forced to make extensive and costly contingency plans to cope with a No Deal Brexit. This includes opening a European Distribution Centre (EDC) in Best, Netherlands, to enable the import of their products directly from Japan into the EU in the event of Brexit disruption. The company has also increased its stock of spare parts, mainly in the Netherlands, to ensure it can maintain service levels if supply chains are seriously disrupted by Brexit.
She commented during the visit: “Ishida have gone to considerable lengths to prepare for Brexit, but they are no clearer now about whether they will face tariffs on the products they export from to Europe, than three years ago. You can understand why they have set up a new base within the EU, given the Brexit uncertainty and No Deal chaos they are facing.
“It’s clear the uncertainty and disruption around Brexit is causing real problems for businesses across the South West. It is also deterring foreign companies from investing in the UK, with a knock-on effect on job creation. But this is about more than jobs – this is about impacting people’s livelihoods, their security and their families."
Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate Vikki Slade said: “With a key channel port in Poole, this area could well be negatively affected by Brexit, especially a No Deal Brexit. Whatever the outcome, businesses and public bodies are already having to divert vital funds and give up time to prepare. It is crucial that the government rules out No Deal.”
Guy Dix, Engineering Manager, Ishida Europe commented: “With Brexit approaching, we have measures in place to minimise the impact to our European customers and partners. We have ensured there will be no price increases for customers and have invested in stock holding facilities in the Netherlands to cover potential supply issues. Long term we are continuing with considerable investment in the development of our products and workforce skills to keep us at the leading edge of our industry. Through innovation and technology, Ishida will continue being the brand of choice.”
Caroline concluded: “I’m impressed with the time and effort made by businesses across the South West, like Ishida, to try to ensure their business can weather the impact of a No Deal Brexit. But they shouldn’t have to do this. I want the UK to remain in the EU so our businesses can continue to trade freely with the rest of Europe and benefit from trade deals agreed by the EU. A No Deal Brexit, or indeed any Brexit, is already hurting our communities and we have barely even begun.
“I dread to think what will happen if Boris Johnson’s reckless government pushes ahead with its crazy No Deal plan. No Government in its right mind should be putting people through this madness.”