Brexit Business Impact: Case story
Letter sent on 13 October 2016 to an English MP by a constituent, shared here with only names and business details redacted.
Thank you for your email — I am happy to provide you with some more details about how Brexit is affecting my business for you to pass on to the Ministry .
As I stated previously — I and my business colleagues are astounded at the impact on businesses during this difficult time . The Conservatives have always looked to provide a strong economic framework within which businesses can operate . This framework is eroding at an alarming rate .
My husband and I started our business in 1996 with nothing and we have built it up to a turnover of around £12million a year. We buy and sell medical disposables from all around the world and sell to hospitals, vets, pharmacies , podiatrists, physiotherapists at the cheapest possible prices — saving the medical industry a large amount of cost. We also employ 32 staff.
The lack of certainty has lead to the crash in sterling and to poor exchange rates — these have increased the price of goods we buy abroad by 17% (Euros) and 20% (Dollars) — we work on small margins which have now been wiped out . We are trying to decrease our prices with our suppliers — but often they can sell their stock to other countries and so we miss out . We also try to put up prices with our customers — but we are in competition with the big manufacturers — who can book ahead more currency and are more resilient to market changes and able to keep their prices lower for longer .
If we cannot reduce the price with our foreign suppliers we have no option but to increase price with our UK customers and this comes at the risk of losing our customers to the competition . We have thousands of products and thousands of customers — so amending prices is not a small task . It comes at a time when we are already trying to deal with the new pension legislation , minimum wage increases and the living wage . We spend all our time right now trying to keep the business we have and make it profitable and no time trying to find new business .
I will also have to look at reducing costs — as a small business we already run on a small cost base . Our biggest cost is staff and it will break my heart to have to make the strong team that we have spent years building up- redundant . I already have 8 staff who re-label products from Europe in English — but this type of work is no longer profitable for us so they currently have no work .
This is all before Brexit even begins — the potential tariffs on European imported stock would then increase our costs by around another 10 % on top of these exchange rate increases . Costs we have to pass on to our customers and then on to the hospitals and pharmacies — markets that do not need cost increases .
I do not understand why Theresa May is forging ahead with such a pointless mission . It is disastrous for this country . She needs to take a leader’s helicopter view and see the terrible impact on the economy and the unity of the country and stop it now . If she doesn’t we are heading for the collapse of many small businesses including mine, large businesses leaving the UK on mass — taking jobs and a huge amount of tax revenue with them. Inflation is sure to follow — we are already seeing rises in the cost of living ( petrol, heating , food) — these rises will be felt by the poorest in the country — leading to poverty and homelessness. Not to mention the impact this is having on our relations with Europe and the way we are treating their people in the UK . On the whole these people work hard in the UK and they fill a skills gap — certainly in the South West — but they are currently being held in contempt.
The public made a decision on the referendum with limited and incorrect information — many of these people are now suffering price increases and loss of jobs . They did not vote for that . There are 16 million people who didn’t vote for it from the start — neglect these voters at your peril . I have voted Conservative all my life but why should I support a party that doesn’t look after the hard working small businesses of this country .
I hope you are able to pass these sentiments on to the Ministry and that Brexit is stopped in its tracks before my small business and the country we all love is ruined . Don’t let the Conservatives be responsible for this collapse.
Thank you for your help .
From the editor:
#NoDust on #Brexit is an experiment in civic conversation, that arose in the aftermath of the EU Referendum Results and the ensuing leadership vacuum.
#NoDust connects dots, by connecting people with ideas and their implications.
#NoDust galvanises people from different parties, groups, sectors, generations, communities to gather and exchange ideas, in actual and virtual places.
Please find explore the other essays in the collection, and find #NoDust on Twitter @NoDustEU