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Somerset Chamber CEO tells BBC Somerset businesses need a Brexit deal

Somerset Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive, Stephen Henagulph, said it was vital politicians reached a deal before the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31.

Speaking to Claire Carter on BBC Somerset this morning (Monday, December 14), Mr Henagulph said businesses in the county had a very clear, very simple message: “Get a deal done.”

He said: “We have to have something. There are 18 full days left until December 31 when the transition period ends. Business across Somerset have been telling us that a deal is better than no deal.

“We don’t want to rely on the WTO (World Trade Organisation) in the event of a no deal as there would be serious implications in terms of labelling and identification of food, rules of origin for those who import and export and also the workforce; our workforce in Somerset and the South West is made up of European workers and we need to have some clarity and understanding, so get a deal done.

“Somerset Chamber is a non-political organisation but we know there will be some political vying to and fro between Brussels and London, there has to be, somebody is going to have to take a step back and accept they didn’t get what they want but what businesses are telling us loud and clear, at the end of what has been an horrific year for a lot of business in Somerset and the UK, is that we need some certainty. A deal is the way forward, get something sorted out.

“We’ve got some real issues if there is no deal, for example, food and drink labelling won’t be legally recognised, there will be some horrendous tariffs both on imports and exports and there will be uncertainty in terms of getting across into our major trading area, namely mainland Europe.

“The oddity is that it works both ways – the German automotive sector relies heavily on the UK, not only do they produce the BMW MINI in Oxford, they import a huge amount of cars – Volkswagen, Mercedes, BMW into the UK. It’s in everybody’s interests to get a deal done.”

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