Warning of trade disruption for north Nottinghamshire businesses as Brexit deadline looms

Businesses in north Nottinghamshire exported hundreds of millions of pounds' worth of goods to the EU last year, new figures reveal.

Thursday, 12th November 2020, 9:45 am

Public spending watchdog the National Audit Office (NAO) warns ‘widespread disruption’ to UK trade with the EU is likely when the country exits the single market at the end of December.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) figures show 1,062 businesses registered in the north Nottinghamshire area exported goods to countries in the European Union in 2019.

This outward trade was valued at £685 million – 46 per cent of the total value of exports included in the data.

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North Nottinghamshire businesses exported millions of pounds worth of goods to the EU last year

The figures also show 1,514 businesses imported goods from the bloc at a value of £843 million last year – 51 per cent of the value of all inbound trade.

Across the UK, companies exported £168 billion worth of goods to the EU last year, while imports amounted to £267 billion.

A recent report by the NAO said there was ‘significant uncertainty’ about whether preparations will be complete in time for the UK's departure from the single market.

Gareth Davies, head of the NAO, said: “The January 1 deadline is unlike any previous EU exit deadline – significant changes at the border will take place and government must be ready.

“Disruption is likely and government will need to respond quickly to minimise the impact, a situation made all the more challenging by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Talks between the UK and EU continue negotiators try to finalise a trade deal before the end of the year.

In north Nottinghamshire, businesses exported goods to non-EU countries at a value of £799 million in 2019, while imports from outside the bloc were valued at £794 million.

A government spokesman said: “We are making significant preparations to prepare for the guaranteed changes at the end of the transition period – including investing £705 million to ensure the right border infrastructure, staffing and technology is in place, providing £84 million in grants to boost the customs intermediaries sector, and implementing border controls in stages so traders have sufficient time to prepare.

“With less than two months to go, it’s vital that businesses and citizens prepare too.”