South Yorkshire and Derbyshire bosses brand Brexit deal a 'total disaster' set to cost jobs and close companies

South Yorkshire bosses have branded the UK’s Brexit deal a ‘total disaster’ and say it could cost jobs or force some firms to close.

By David Walsh
Thursday, 28th January 2021, 11:32 am

Some have already lost customers after the UK left the EU, bringing new inspections, delays and swaithe of declarations, tariffs, fees and VAT payments.

Chris Cox, managing director at Mollart Cox Engineering, on Chesterfield Trading Estate, Old Whittington, Chesterfield, said: “It’s a total disaster and the most ill-prepared situation I’ve ever come across. They only had four years to prepare for it and it’s a total embarrassment. It will cause job losses and have a detrimental effect on our ability to export.”

Buxton Special Alloys in Rotherham is a stockholder of stainless steel, duplex, super duplex and nickel alloys.

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Lorries arrive at the Port of Dover in Kent Pic: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Director Nick Buxton, said they had lost three customers.

He added: “This is causing us massive issues with material stuck at customs that is delayed due to them not understanding the new paperwork.

“We lost three customers since we came back after the new year because material was delayed 10 days in customs. The country is a shambles yet there’s been no thought for the impact it has on us.

“Maybe it will only be short term but what is short term? Brexit took four years!”

Garda officers check the trucks of lorries and HGVs after disembarking from the Stena Line ferry 'Kerry', following its arrival from Dunkirk, France. (Photo by PAUL FAITH/AFP via Getty Images)

Adam Bradley, director at Corrosion Resistant Materials, of Swinton, Mexborough, said businesses were having to shoulder the problems alone and they needed government ‘before companies start to go to the wire’.

He added: “I don't think enough has been done to educate EU companies who import into the UK. Times are already tough following almost a year of Covid and this could be the tipping point.

“Too much red tape and too many differing opinions of what is best is causing many issues. It all seems to be falling on the shoulders of businesses to sort the paperwork and pay the additional transport and Customs duties, as well as VAT and duty which is being charged in many circumstances.

“Where is the government support?”

Billboard warning hauliers of the new documentation required to travel through Kent for access to the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel since Britain left the EU single market and customs union at a service station off the M25 motorway in Greater London. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)

The trio commented on a story on David Walsh’s LinkedIn page about traders ‘pulling their hair out’ in frustration over the changes, based on comments by customs broker Steve White, of Metoni Logistics in Dinnington.

The Brexit deal has caused chaos at UK ports and protests over delays and extra costs. Carriers including UK-based DPD and DB Schenker in Germany have halted cross border deliveries due to the problems.

Meanwhile, Brexit stockpiling has led to a lack of empty containers in China and import costs soaring ten fold from £1,600 to £16,000.

The Government is urging Sheffield firms to hire a specialist to handle international trade.

A UK Government spokesperson said: "We have encouraged companies new to dealing with customs declarations to appoint a specialist to deal with import and export declarations on their behalf - and we made more than £80 million available to expand the capacity of the customs agents market. Most businesses use a specialist such as a customs broker, freight forwarder or fast parcel operator to deal with this.

“The Government will continue to work closely with businesses to ensure they are not only able to adapt to the new rules for trade with the EU, but grow their trade with the world's fastest growing markets."

The spokesperson did not state any advantages of Brexit, in response to a direct question from The Star.

Thank you to all who support local journalism with a digital or print subscription to The Star.

The events of 2020 mean trusted, local journalism is more reliant than ever on your support.

Subscribe here so we can keep campaigning on your behalf. Stay safe.