6 December, 2018
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

Chris Heaton-Harris MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Exiting the European Union

Securing the best trading environment for SMEs post Brexit

The UK Government is right to seek the best possible trading environment for SMEs post Brexit. Much of the success of the UK economy lies in the hands of SMEs, which account for 99 per cent of all businesses, 60 per cent of employment and 51 per cent of total business turnover.

In surveys, SMEs report that the most important determinant of their trading environment is regulatory stability, in particular concerning employment and taxation. The UK Government is seeking to achieve this stability by proposing, in its White Paper, frictionless movement of goods and services and no change in regulations concerning employment. It has recognised, however, the possibility of a “no deal” conclusion to the negotiations and has published guidance to businesses on that scenario. In addition, for some SMEs, a strong trading environment will include opportunities to export. So far, a small minority of SMEs (28 per cent) report that they have delayed plans on exporting due to Brexit.

This roundtable brought together around 20 SMEs and their representative organisations with officials from a number of relevant government departments and agencies.

The roundtable was held under the Chatham House Rule.

This event was supported by Sage: