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Brexit – What does it mean for our business

It's almost 4 years since the Referendum to leave the European Union. How did we ever get ourselves into this mess. So much time

It’s almost 4 years since the Referendum to leave the European Union. How did we ever get ourselves into this mess. So much time, and money wasted to go nowhere.

Many, even if they voted Remain, say we just need to accept the result and get on with it. I’m not convinced. But what can we do? With less than 4 weeks before we leave our biggest trading partner we are no further informed today than we were on 24th June 2016 when the results were announced. The risk of a no deal Brexit on top of Covid is close to criminal.

What does it mean for our business?

  1. As an IMPORTER of fresh produce this will have a significant impact, particularly in the early days. Border delays are expected due to the increased administration. Persimmons and mozzarella di bufala sitting in an articulated lorry for a further two or three days will potentially spoil the full container. Again we don’t have insurance to cover this! Our Italian suppliers and haulier are confident they understand the legal requirements (we have been talking to them for over three years and only know now what is required). As yet nobody knows if there will be tariffs and at what cost. We do know there will be a £35 per item (whether that’s a pallet or one cheese) certificate required for any animal product. Additional daily haulage charges have also been proposed should goods be delayed in transit. Delivery delay costs are something we have never had to agree to before. Paperwork charges have never been applied before. The free market wasn’t called that for nothing!
  2. As an EMPLOYER we have relied on our European team to help us serve you. We’ve known for three years now that we would see a fall in job applications from Europe. It’s now starkly visible. More concerning is the choices the team are making. Covid travel restrictions have prevented our team visiting family back home. With Christmas emotions always high and Brexit looming, for some it’s just been too much. The need to head back to the family has taken over and sadly we’re seeing team handing in their notice after years of thinking Scotland is their home.
  3. As a SUPPORTER of Scottish produce, especially fresh fish and shellfish, will there be more access to this amazing produce or will more businesses have to close as their market has been so dramatically reduced due to no longer being able to easily export to Europe?
  4. As a CITY CENTRE DESTINATION RESTAURANT we anticipate less European travels and less group bookings as travelling within Europe is an easier holiday destination. This will affect our capacity short term.
  5. COSTS and PRICES will inevitably increase for food, wine, equipment and even repairs. Price increases are never good for communities or for business.

What does it mean for our family?

  1. As an ITALIAN SCOT we have Italian names but we were born in Scotland. Even after 100 years of living in Edinburgh we’re not seen as Scottish but Italian. When we visit Italy we’re definitely not Italian but Scottish. Now that the UK has left Europe I feel even more at sea.
  2. 99% of our holidays as a family have been in Europe. Cost and inconvenience will only increase.
  3. Victor and I have had more choices than our children. I’m sad they won’t have the free movement as British citizens. Their Italian parentage, one day, may hopefully give them some of the freedom.
  4. Our phone bill for work and family may also be increasing with the likelihood of no more free data roaming.
  5. As a daughter and grandchildren of a parent who lived and died during a world war I am heartbroken that we’ve left the union that was shaped to stop us ever fighting each other again.

Who’s idea was it, we left Europe?

The majority of Scots didn’t vote to leave Europe. The majority of Scots did not vote to leave the UK either in 2014.

Running a business there are times when you have to say no. A previous good choice, if circumstances change, may not be the best choice now. The right thing to do is question the decision? A very wise old man once told me, “You can always change your mind”.

If I had a choice I’d at least say let’s delay Brexit, or any other big decision, until after the pandemic. For Brexit sadly that’s not going to happen.

We don’t know what we had until we lose it. I hope we don’t lose even more by the end. I do feel there will be many, who chose Brexit, that will suffer more than they may have bargained for.

Will leaving one club mean we have to leave another to re-join the first? Seems like a lot of moving to only go backwards, for the present at least.

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