A Scottish food and drink industry leader has said exporters “are finding the door to the EU is shut” as the Brexit impact on business grows.
Food and drink businesses including seafood and salmon firms have been hit by delays at European border crossings amid concerns of potential tariffs.
It comes after Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove warned of more disruption ahead as companies like Marks and Spencer flagged the impact expected by burgeoning red tape issues.
Mr Withers said he has received messages from food exporters saying haulage firms will not take their loads and that the checkpoint system is failing.
He posted: “More messages from food exporters who are finding the door to the EU is now shut.
“Haulage firms won’t take their loads; bureaucratic/IT systems failing.
“A multi-billion pound trade system is being tested for the 1st time, in real time. And it’s going wrong.
He said: “Brexit, week 1 was bad. Week 2 will be worse.
“UK Govt’s dismissal of the request from us (& most main business orgs) for a grace period was a critical mistake. By this time next week, pressure to revisit that will be even greater. Emergency financial aid may also be necessary.”
It comes as the SNP at Westminster has called for Scotland to be given “compensation” for the economic effects of Brexit.
The party’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford has described leaving the European Union, which was finalised on December 31, as an “act of economic vandalism”.
Mr Withers also said: “The crux of all this is sheer complexity and lack of prep time. For a product that has 24hrs to get to market, small delays at diff points are crippling. This is the ‘simplified’ 18-step process for moving fish from Scotland to France. This, on top of eight-step process for importers.”
He posted: “For those that say businesses had years to prepare, a reminder that the final Border Operating Model (all 160+ pages) was published six hours before the end of the transition period. Yes, six hours.”