As Brexit talks intensify with the transition period deadline in sight, small firms have raised concerns about the outcome of negotiations. However, the UK’s small companies are more than capable of adapting and thriving, a business chief said. Sonali Parekh, the Policy Director for the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), spoke to Express.co.uk about how small British businesses would handle exiting the EU without a deal.
She said: “I think most of our members are not ideological about this.
“We have left the EU, this is about now making sure that the transition period ends in as smooth a way as possible.
“You’ve got three possible scenarios. The first is a comprehensive trade deal with the EU.
“The second is perhaps more of a thinner bare bones agreement with the EU. The third is no second stage trading deal at all.”
Ms Parekh continued: “What our members would ideally like to see, as everyone would, is to see as few tariffs and barriers as possible.
“But basically small businesses will adapt and will be resilient and will adjust to whatever the trading reality is.
“The key thing is that they have the financial wherewithal to be able to make those adjustments and they have the time to be able to make them.
“So there are sort of practical considerations that we’re really focused on, and that’s why we have been pushing for these transition vouchers to provide that extra degree of financial support.”
The FSB Policy Director added: “Right now the vast majority of small businesses across the UK are working on very very thin cash flows and very tight margins.
“Cash flow is incredibly constricted at the moment so to ask them to also have to think about making preparations for whether it’s a thin deal or a comprehensive deal or no deal whatsoever is quite a burden on them.
“There’s not a lot of time to be able to prepare so for those reasons we do think it is important that there is also financial support as well.”
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Ms Parekh told Express.co.uk: “That’s as well as putting out very clear information and guidance for businesses.
“We welcome the efforts that the Government has made in that arena.
“The Government has shown a willingness, for example, to make some additional funding available for some businesses.
“All we are asking for now is an additional support for the smallest of businesses or the micro businesses.
“Businesses under 50 employees that won’t be able to make their own customs declarations, who will have to use intermediary but need additional help and support to be able to use them in the right way so they can continue to import and export.”