Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant joined a range of Local Businesses to discuss the impact of Brexit and their preparedness for a potential 'No Deal' scenario.
The employers took the opportunity to set out their concerns about the impact upon Kent's small businesses of a cliff edge exit from the EU. They were particularly worried about the potential impact on the availability of labour and whether increased customs checks at the border may bring significant disruption to Kent's road network.
Helen was able to update the group on plans to ensure that, even in the sub optimal 'No Deal' scenario, traffic can continue to move around the county as freely as possible. These plans include the new Operation Brock which will allow traffic to move both ways along the M20 even if there are significant delays at the border. She also outlined the Government's commitment to creating a future immigration system which prioritises continuing to meet the recruitment needs of employers.
The businesses also explained the sensible steps they are taking to ensure they are prepared for a potential 'No Deal.' These include one firm stockpiling goods on both sides of the channel to ensure they are ready to continue doing business in the UK and the EU whatever the outcome of the negotiations. This pragmatic approach was the overriding theme of the meeting with firms expressing their desire for the Government to quickly agree a deal with the EU to allow them to plan for making Brexit a success.
Helen Grant MP said, 'Whilst I am confident that a good deal with our European friends and neighbours is within grasp it is important that we plan for all potential outcomes of the negotiations. I am reassured by the pragmatic and sensible approach many of our local businesses are adopting to ensure they are prepared to make a success of Brexit whatever the outcome.
Small businesses really are the life blood of our economy and I am committed to doing everything I can to ensure that our future relationship with the EU works for small businesses in Maidstone and the Weald.'
Alan Bracken, Barclays Area Business Manager said, '"This event was a good opportunity to get local entrepreneurs together to talk about their opportunities and challenges. Although there is some caution, and this is understandable, there is also confidence in the area, and this is demonstrated by the level of lending that my team have been doing in and around Maidstone.
It was a successful event and it was great that Helen was willing to dedicate so much time to hear what is on the minds of business owners and managers locally."
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