How Brexit left small British business out in the cold
It was billed as the rebirth of UK plc, granting British businesses freedom from the high-handed bureaucracy of Brussels. But, for many SMEs with significant EU exports, Brexit feels less like a renaissance than it does the rocky road to ruin.
Engulfed by paperwork, taxes and unbearable added costs, some are having to shelve their EU operations indefinitely. Others, unwilling to sacrifice their hard-earned customer base on the Continent, are battling through the red tape, desperate to salvage what business they can.
Donna Wilson, a London-based textile designer who runs an eponymous homeware business, is one of the latter, although she is finding it an uphill struggle.
“Selling to Europe used to be seamless,” she says. “With the EU agreements in place, we didn’t have to deal with customs and there were no hidden charges. It was a very easy experience for us and our customers.”