Small trader close to quitting his business after post Brexit trade falls
Business / Fri 1st Oct 2021 at 08:08am
A CHELMSFORD small trader who has seen his sales plummet by about 30 per cent since the UK left the EU says he is close to quitting his business.
Richard Lee, who is also a councillor on Chelmsford City Council, deals in old collectibles but especially vintage toys and said that pre-Brexit about 40 per cent of his business was to overseas customers reports Local Democracy Reporting Service.
He added that has since has dropped to 10 per cent and the shortfall is not being made up with any increase in UK sales, and he has lost about £20,000 worth of sales since the start of the year.
After about 13 years has now decided to stop selling to two of his biggest overseas markets, Germany and Italy, and said he said orm filling has become “protracted and complex”.
But crucially, too many items are being delayed, sometimes by months, at customs, and as a result he is having to give back refunds in as many as 90 per cent of sales.
Mr Lee said: “It is just a pain.
“However he said the bigger problems are the delays associated with goods being held at customs. I can grin and bear the form filling if things weren’t being held in customs.
“It takes an average of two months to get through customs for Italy. It’s insane.
“At which point my customers are telling me it’s unacceptable so I am having to refund them in the hope that the goods turn up and they pay me back or they don’t collect them from their delivery office and the goods come back to me.”
The Brexit transition period ended on December 31, 2020, when the UK officially left the European Union.
He added: “We are a third country now. That is what we voted for.
“We are seeing a lot of people who are in denial that there is a problem.
“I agree that Covid is partly responsible for some of the difficulties we are facing but if someone is saying that Brexit has got nothing do with it, I would politely disagree.
“I am a net exporter and my exports have plummeted.
“If I am being totally honest I am contemplating leaving the business.
“I am going to grin and bear it for another six months and then we’ll see.
“It’s hard work and it knocks onto you mentally, if I’m being honest.
“Being self-employed can be stressful but when you are being given several more metres of mud to wade through it becomes very tiresome.”
Well. This is what the “majority” wanted. So get on with it, enjoy all the freedom that the country is bathing in. You all voted to gain nothing and give up everything.
Sadly the Brexit winning goes on, apparently.
Hark do I hear the sound of Brexit chickens coming home to roost. It’s about time the government got a grip.