‘This threatens livelihoods’ - Suffolk business owners demand People’s Vote

Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Photo: PA.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Photo: PA. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

More than 40 small business owners across Suffolk have written to their MPs demanding a public vote on Brexit.

They believe the threat of a no-deal Brexit and the fall-out it would create could have a devastating impact on their livelihoods.

Thousands of firms around the country could be facing extra costs and paperwork as well as new tariffs and regulatory barriers which make trade less attractive customer abroad.

MORE: Suffolk pub shuts down months after reopeningAnd as small businesses often deal with tighter margins than larger firms, these businesses warn the impact could be devastating.

The on-going uncertainty has already wreaked havoc for some small firms in Suffolk such as Groundbreaker Systems in Stutson near Diss.

The company, which has several full-time staff and contractors, supplies products to the water industry.

"My products are fabricated, assembled and warehoused in the UK but many components and materials need to be imported from France and Germany," said managing director Steve Leigh.

"Currency exchange rate fluctuations have already cost us dearly.

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"I'm concerned about the future continuity of supplies, costs and possible tariffs, so we have already started stockpiling some French components.

He added: "We are making as many preparations as we can for Brexit but the uncertainty and instability of the situation is gravely affecting our ability to plan ahead for the business.

"This also threatens the livelihoods of my employees and contractors."

Beryl Booth, from Bury St Edmunds, works as an independent counsellor and long-term advisor for a weight-plan diet and has likewise written to her MP to demand action.

"The products are manufactured in the Netherlands and it's a competitive market in diet planning", she said.

"All products and measurements were altered to comply with EU regulations. Now they may have to be changed again.

"I'm concerned that problems with continuity of supply, product changes and pricing may affect my business after Brexit."

Holiday firms in the area are also feeling the pinch as wary customers refuse to refuse to book trips.

June Wright runs several businesses within the local tourism sector and said: "We fear that those worst hit by a no deal Brexit will be the less well-off who tend to holiday in the UK.

"Holiday businesses like ours rely on bookings made six months or more ahead and Brexit uncertainty means customers are wary of committing themselves."