Commenting on the ongoing negotiations between the UK and the EU, BCC Director General Dr Adam Marshall said:
“Businesses need the two sides to knuckle down and agree a deal. Otherwise companies will have to spend cash they don’t have preparing for a ‘no deal’ scenario yet again, just as they try to cope with the impact of the worst economic crisis in living memory.
“Both the UK and EU need to signal a willingness to compromise when they meet next week. Allowing the present standoff to continue would be like kicking the economy when it’s already down. Livelihoods in both the UK and the EU depend on rapid moves to break the logjam.
“As we have been warning for years now, businesses still need detailed answers on a wide range of questions if they are to plan for change. That need is only intensifying as the end of the transition period comes into sight.”
On the UK government’s plans for easements at the Border:
“Companies will be pleased to see the government adopting a pragmatic approach to customs procedures at the border. Many trading businesses were shocked when the government insisted that it would be imposing full checks and bureaucracy from day one – deal or no deal – and they will welcome this more practical and sensible approach.
“We have long campaigned for the UK government to prioritise flow across the border, not revenue or bureaucracy, when the transition period comes to an end. The very last thing ministers should seek to do is to pile new compliance costs on trading firms, who are already dealing with higher costs and lower revenues due to the coronavirus crisis.”
Commenting on additional grant funding to support customs agents, BCC Director of Trade Facilitation Liam Smyth said:
“We are pleased to see the government respond to our call to provide additional funding for customs agents. More than 150,000 traders will need support to make customs declarations for the first time, and this £50m will help to make that happen.”