Brexit: Six years after vote many 'yet to feel benefits' says Sheffield business chief

Six years after the vote, Brexit is a ‘headache’ for many Sheffield businesses and ‘the benefits are still to be felt’.

Thursday, 23rd June 2022, 8:24 am

Alexis Krachai, executive director of Sheffield Chamber, said the feedback from members of the 870-strong organisation was that red-tape had grown more complex and doing business was harder.

But it would take ‘years and years’ to fully understand whether Brexit was good or bad for business in Sheffield. But a top exporter said his business had had ‘zero problems’ and ‘grown very profitably’.

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Alexis Krachai.

Mr Krachai added: “In the six years since the vote what has been clear is the process of leaving the EU caused huge uncertainty for many businesses.

“It has also caused many businesses to change how they import and export goods. Many of those changes have been complicated, time consuming and expensive.

“In Sheffield Chamber we are lucky to have our International Trade Centre. For the last six years businesses from across the city and wider region have been ringing as they got their heads around the impact. We continue to provide an expert helping hand for hundreds of local businesses.

Graham Royle is chairman and CEO at GRI Group.

“The feedback we are hearing is that if Brexit is to be of long-term good for business those benefits are still to be felt by many. Red tape has grown more complex rather than disappearing. Doing business has got harder for many.

“As the years pass hopefully the benefits promised will become clearer to those who saw Brexit as an opportunity. Right now, it seems like a headache for many of our local businesses.”

Lorries arriving from France. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

But financier Ian Hepworth said: “How can anyone tell? Too many other influences. Covid, Ukraine, inflation, etc… We have seen how we could benefit by making quick decisions. The vaccine roll out was a success.”

And Graham Royle, chairman and CEO at GRI Group, said exports were up.

“My business spent 12 months pre-Brexit changing our systems to easily handle the new paperwork required for exporting to to the EU,” he said.

“As a result, we have had zero problems with our exporting. Since Brexit, our exports have grown significantly both into the EU and globally. My chemicals business alone has grown very profitably by 72 per cent to £55m.”

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