BREXIT AND THE BLACK COUNTRY
On 23rd June 2016,
citizens of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union (EU) by a
majority of 52%-48%.
In March 2017, the UK government triggered Article 50 which began formally, the process of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
On March 29th, 2019, the UK will leave the EU and enter a ‘Transition’ or ‘Implementation’ period which will end on December 31st, 2020. The transitional period will see the same rules apply to the UK’s relationship with the EU, as if it were still a member state; allowing time for government and business to adjust.
MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD
At Black Country Chamber of Commerce, we represent the views of businesses across the Black Country. We believe lobbying is important and aim to give businesses a voice across our events to raise the real issues being faced. Find out below the work we have undertaken and find resources to help your business throughout the Brexit process.
Future Trading Relationships
Here in the Black Country, according to statistics collected from UK Trade Info in 2015, EU-bound exports stood at around 60%, with the EU accounting for 43% of imports. Out of the Black Country’s top 10 export destinations, 8 of them are in the EU. Therefore, we know that continued frictionless trade is imperative to a range of sectors, including but not limited to: Food & Drink Manufacturing, Automotive and Aerospace.
EU Migration to the Black Country
EU-born workers are employed at all levels, across a range of sectors in the UK. We have had conversations with the Higher Education Sector, Hospitality, Transport & Logistics sectors and across Manufacturing. We have consistently lobbied for a common-sense, business-friendly, post-Brexit immigration system that continues to allow Black Country businesses to access the EU labour market. We also hosted the Migration Advisory Committee who were commissioned by the government to report on EEA workers in the UK.
What Have We Done?
Given the context provided above and thanks to continued, frequent dialogue with our members, we have worked hard in a variety of ways to mitigate against the wide spread business uncertainty that has arisen since the referendum in 2016.
Europe Direct Information Centre for the Black Country
Since January 2018, we have been EDIC for the Black Country. We are a signposting organisation with direct access to the EU Commission. We have an extensive library of resources and materials and access to Seraphus, a Human Rights and Immigration Law firm. More information on Black Country EDIC can be found here.
Worked closely with the Centre for Brexit Studies
We have worked very closely with the Centre for Brexit Studies (CBS). We attended the Centre’s annual conference in 2017 and support the work being done by Alex De Ruyter and his team. We have held Brexit workshops with guest speakers from the CBS and worked together wherever possible.
Supported the British Chambers of Commerce
Our colleagues at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) meet with BEIS and the Department for Exiting the EU regularly. It is during those meetings that BCC feed through the case studies from our members. That’s why we continue to ask our members to provide details around their concerns, so that as well as help to find a solution, practical business issues are passed onto policy makers.
Building a database of vocal members
We have built a database of local members who have concerns around Brexit. By doing this, we can identify which members would benefit from Brexit workshops or roundtables, as well as understanding common issues amongst our broad membership base.
Discussing with local MPs
We continue to discuss Brexit and its impact with local MPs, to ensure that they understand the business landscape in their respective constituencies. We currently have a series of 'Meet Your MP' events taking place across the region. You can find out more here.
Met with Government departments
We have met twice with the Department for Exiting the European Union. In our latest meeting, we used the British Chambers’ Brexit Business Checklist as an informal agenda, as we identified real-world issues for our manufacturers that needed addressing, such as: Import VAT, Rules of Origin, Future Proofing Workforces, EU Regulatory Regime and Customs Facilitations.
RESOURCES FOR YOU
Forresters LLP who sponsor our Black Country International services have made these resources available:
Some of our latest events include Meet Your MP, factory site tours, Bank of England groups and much more. Find a list of all our events here.
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As a Chamber, we are keen to hear about any issues that your business may have with regards to Brexit. If you would like any further information please contact us on 0330 024 0820 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.