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SME Trade with EU

Volume 707: debated on Thursday 20 January 2022

The refreshed export strategy, launched in November, focuses on the barriers to trade faced by small and medium-sized enterprises, using targeted interventions that help businesses at every stage of their exporting journey. Our newly unified Export Support Service provides a single point of contact for businesses trading with Europe, as one of the central elements of the strategy.

After finally getting to grips with last year’s contradictory guidance on trading with the European Union, one family-run business in Chesham has immediately come up against problems with the new rules introduced this month. They tell me that

“we would love to do it all absolutely correctly”,

but that nobody will tell them what correctly is. Will the Minister support the thousands of UK businesses struggling to trade with Europe by clarifying the Government’s new rules, and will he work with colleagues in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to reopen and expand the SME Brexit support fund?

The ESS is there to help traders who are struggling with elements of trading with Europe and it will continue to do so. It is available online and by telephone, but if the hon. Lady would like me to meet her constituents, I would be more than happy to do so.

Given the growing list of companies setting out the real and obvious difficulties they are facing in accessing markets in Europe, and given the many very practical suggestions that business groups have put forward to the Government in recent weeks, from negotiating a veterinary agreement and making progress on mutual recognition, to even just getting agreement on shared customs advice, when are Ministers going to try a bit harder to help businesses make Brexit work?