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I have long warned about the need to be in a Customs Union and some form of Single Market as an absolute minimum to any Brexit Deal. We must listen to the warnings from various organisations and businesses, such as JLR and BMW.
These businesses do not see it as their responsibility to speak on these issues but they feel necessary to speak out. When they speak, they speak softly, but we should listen. Businesses have waited 2 years for the Government to solve the uncertainty and they are already making decisions about future jobs and investment. This applies to SME’s in component supply chains too.
Being in a Customs Union has not held us back. Germany is in the Customs Union and Single Market and exports ten times as much as the UK does to China. Being in the Customs Union is not a disadvantage.
Recently we have seen the Government release technical information about the challenges our economy would face from a potential ‘No Deal’ scenario with the EU. I am afraid that this is part of the harsh reality being planned by those who are working to orchestrate a ‘Hard Brexit’ for ideological reasons: put simply, it will really hurt the UK economy. Leaving the Single Market and the Customs Union without a deal means significantly higher barriers to trade with the EU and higher costs for firms that are engaged in that trade, especially in the automotive industry.
It is also crucial we avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland, where all you need to know is summarised by the UK Government’s advice to Northern Ireland businesses: “Contact Dublin for what to do!”. There are an estimated 85,000 businesses in Northern Ireland, almost all of which have an element of import or export trade across the border. I believe that the Government’s current Brexit strategy is utterly irresponsible and inappropriate.