The chief executive of the Scottish Grocers Federation, Dr Pete Cheema OBE, looks at the implications of Brexit and the UK leaving the European Union which is now only six weeks away.
Brexit will bring the biggest change in the way we trade in the UK for almost half a century. Do not underestimate the effect, it will be huge.
Most businesses are ill prepared for the inevitable changes that will occur on the January 1 2021, as they have had more pressing needs to deal with since March this year due to the outbreak of coronavirus.
We all know of the problems created by Covid-19 pandemic, the lockdowns and restrictive trading. We all understand that we must face exacerbated consequences of the failure to trade properly in this period. No doubt, we will have to endure a period of recession. How long? God knows!
The pandemic has left the supply chain erratic. More easements will be required for time-allowed adjustments and practicability.
Whether there is a deal or no deal. Every company will need to adjust in the way they trade. Even though there is a plethora of information available, it is uncertain how far down the chain companies are prepared for the inevitable. We do not even know how prepared the EU nations are for the UK leaving the EU!
What we all know is your business, family and personal circumstances will be affected. Following a referendum and subsequent decisions by the UK Government, the UK is leaving the EU.
EU citizens and their families will have to apply to the UK Government’s EU Settlement Scheme by June 30 2021 in order to continue living, working and studying in the UK after that date.
Scotland deeply values the contribution EU citizens make to our society, culture and economy and after Brexit the Scottish Government wants people to stay in Scotland.
The Scottish Government has produced a package of support to help guide people on how to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. At the Scottish Grocers Federation, we have been actively involved in cascading this information to all our members.
Brexit’s biggest disadvantage is its damage to the UK’s economic growth. Most of this has been due to the uncertainty surrounding the final outcome.
Inevitably, much depends on what type of relationship the UK decides to have towards the EU single market.
To be honest, it could not come at a worst time. Let us hope, we come out of this unscathed.