A No-Deal Brexit will wreak havoc on companies across the UK as delays and tariffs start to bite, said Caroline Voaden, Liberal Democrat MEP for the South West, after meeting business leaders in Melksham, Wiltshire.
The impending damage is keeping business leaders up at night worrying about the impact on their staff and livelihoods. Any responsible Government would rule out No Deal immediately.
Caroline, along with Lib Dem PPC for Chippenham Helen Belcher, was given a tour of Coombe CastleInternational’s Creamery which exports cheese to Canada tariff-free under the EU-Canada trade deal, set to be ditched under No Deal. The tariff on a £500 block of cheese would rise to a staggering £1,200, and increase from 0% to 300% on the company’s cream products.
Darren Larvin, Managing Director, Coombe Castle International said: “We are extremely concerned about the effects that a No Deal Brexit will have on our business, which will see revenues more than halve overnight, affecting our cheesemakers and farmers around UK who have supported us for nearly 40 years. We will be left with little or no access to some markets and our products rendered uncompetitive when operating under WTO tariffs with no significant trade deals in sight.”
Caroline commented: “It’s not just trade with other European countries that will be harmed by a No deal Brexit. Coombe Castle International is one of many companies that will no longer benefit from access to EU trade deals with countries like Canada and Japan. This isn’t just about the economy – it is about jobs and livelihoods and the wellbeing of everyone involved in these businesses and their supply chains.”
Helen Belcher, Liberal Democrat PPC for Chippenham, added: “Speaking with local businesses confirmed the negative impact Brexit will have on jobs in Chippenham and Melksham. As a result, I will continue campaigning to stop the UK from crashing out of the EU on 31 st October.”
At the same meeting, the heads of C&P Medical, a medical products wholesaler and importer based in Melksham were brutal and unequivocal about the impact of Brexit. They confirmed the Government’s own warnings, leaked in a report at the weekend, that supply chains for medicines and medical products will be vulnerable to severe delays in a No Deal Brexit. “Brexit is going to be carnage,” said Managing Director Peter Shaw. “No amount of jingoism or propaganda will change the reality of what we are going through. This is not scaremongering - it is going to be awful.”
Peter warned, "A no deal Brexit risks losing the supply base we have built up around Europe over 21 years of business. The main risks to our supply of medical products into UK are delays at the port due to customs clearance and extra paperwork, new WTO tariffs and price increases due to a fall in the pound. We supply medical products to pharmacies, hospitals, laboratories and vets and delays to our products like enteral feeds and blood transfusion sets could prove life-threatening. As a small business, we cannot stockpile as the government suggests due to a lack of cash and space. As a business, we cannot invest or move forward whilst this threat of no-deal hangs over us. Brexit is harming businesses large and small and needs to be stopped.”
Caroline concluded: “What we’ve heard today shows the complete fantasy that is Boris Johnson’s idea of post-Brexit Britain. It is simply not possible for companies like Coombe Castle or C&P Medical to operate with these potentially ludicrous tariffs and delays. The uncertainty for businesses like this must end, and in my capacity as elected Member of the European Parliament, I will work with others to prevent the damage this reckless government is intent on causing.”