Sheffield MP joins group aiming to fix 'flawed' Brexit deal after plunge in trade

A Sheffield MP has joined a new group aiming to improve business with Europe after an alarming drop in trade.

By David Walsh
Friday, 23rd April 2021, 3:39 pm

Paul Blomfield Sheffield Central MP, has joined the UK Trade and Business Commission to come up with solutions to the problems caused by ‘flaws in the Brexit deal’.

Since the EU-UK trade and co-operation agreement came into force in January, thousands of firms have reported problems with red tape and new charges.

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Sheffield MP Paul Blomfield. Picture Tony Johnson.

According to the Office for National Statistics, the export of goods to the EU fell 41 per cent in January, while imports dropped 29 per cent. They were the largest declines since comparable records began in 1997.

Earlier this month, a Federation of Small Businesses survey of 1,483 firms found 23 per cent temporarily halted EU sales, 70 per cent experienced delays and 32 per cent lost goods.

The commission was launched after the government in January ordered the closure of a select committee examining Britain’s relations with the EU - sparking claims it was trying to avoid scrutiny.

Mr Blomfield said they would recommend action needed to protect jobs and the economy.

He added: “After four years scrutinising the Government’s negotiations with the EU as a shadow Brexit minister, I’m pleased to put that experience to good use.

“I’ve heard directly from local companies on the difficulties they’re facing and I hope others will contact me too.

“There were many ways of getting Brexit done, but this flawed deal has created too many barriers for business.

“We’ve seen the loss of jobs and trade dismissed by Ministers as ‘teething problems’, but the Commission will provide a platform for sustained scrutiny to ensure that Government is accountable, and in making constructive recommendations for improvements.”

The group features MPs from all political parties and includes Hilary Benn, Labour chair of the now defunct Commons committee on the future relationship with the EU.

He said: “This is different from the select committee I chaired because it brings together parliamentarians and business leaders and will have an intensely practical focus on the problems businesses are facing.”

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Thank you. Nancy Fielder, editor.