Just under three in four UK exporters think the Brexit deal struck by Boris Johnson with the EU is not supporting them in growing their sales.
The results, which saw 71 per cent of businesses admitting the deal is not helpful to them, were revealed by a British Chambers of Commerce survey.
And the poll also found that the majority of businesses think Brexit “pushed up costs, increased paperwork and delays, and put the UK at a competitive disadvantage”, according to City A.M.
What UK companies are complaining about
William Bane, head of trade policy for BCC, said small businesses are suffering the most from the Trade and Cooperation Agreement signed by the Tories. He said: “Nearly all of the businesses in this research have fewer than 250 employees and these smaller firms are feeling most of the pain of the new burdens in the TCA.”
The BCC revealed UK companies are often complaining about the lack of time and money they have to deal with post-Brexit bureaucracy, and the fact that some EU customers have walked away from them because of the new red tape.
The industry body is now urging the government ensure UK firms do not need to obtain health certificates to export food, and that they cut the EU-imposed VAT prices.
A government spokesperson said: “We’ve always been clear that being outside the single market and the customs union would mean changes and that businesses would need to adapt to new processes. That is why we are ensuring that businesses get the support they need, including through the free-to-use Export Support Service.
“Goods exports to EU nations were four per cent higher last year compared with 2020. However, given the Covid-19 pandemic, global recession and supply chain disruption, it is still too early to draw any firm conclusions on the long-term impacts of our new trading relationship with the EU.”
Figures from November and December 2021 suggest ongoing problems
In December last year, UK’s food and drink exports to the EU have declined by almost a quarter – only nine months after the Tories’ Brexit deal came into force, creating sales losses worth £2.4 billion.
At the time, sales to big EU markets experienced a sharp drop, with exports to Spain declining by over half on 2019 levels and those to Germany and Italy by 44.5 per cent and 43.3 per cent, according to the Food and Drink Federation.
And sales to the Republic of Ireland, the UK’s biggest international market, also dropped by over a quarter.
A month before, it had emerged almost half of UK businesses that traded with the EU before Brexit were trading less or completely stopped trading with the bloc since Britain’s exit from the customs union in January 2021.